IT managers in ‘true denial’ of BYOD

Juniper Network’s trusted mobility index shows 65% of UK IT managers don’t think employees are using unsupported devices

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IT managers in the UK are in “true denial” of the reality of bring your own device (BYOD), according to research released today.

Juniper Network’s trust mobility index questioned 4,000 IT managers as well as professional  and traditional consumers from five countries about their use of mobile devices for work.

A significant 65% of IT managers in the UK believed their employees were not using unsupported devices, compared over 40% of users who admitted to accessing corporate data on smartphones and tablets.

“These IT managers need to take their head out of the sand and realise [BYOD] is happening,” said Paul Gainham, senior director of solutions in EMEA for Juniper, at the unveiling of the research in London this morning.

“Some of them are in true denial and that is a scary prospect.”  

The study showed employees had, on average, three devices they carried around with them to use for work, with 18% owning five. Gainham admitted this created a “security nightmare” for IT departments, but they needed to tackle the growing trend head on, rather than ignoring it and putting the company at risk.

“It feels complex or sounds complex so some take the attitude of ignore it for now until we get bitten,” he added, “but you have to look at end to end security and end to end policy.”

“Either go with prohibition or a completely open and clear policy, but don’t go into denial as that is where the risk lies.”

It is not just the IT managers that don’t trust mobile devices, as even the employees seem unsure whether to trust them.

Just 20% of UK respondents said they had a “great deal of confidence” in the security of their mobile devices, meaning 80% were unsure or didn’t trust them at all.

“All of this points to a trust gap,” said Gainham. “People are actively using mobiles at am alarmingly increasing rate but [despite concerns] their time and investment into security is still relatively low.”  

At the report launch presenters agreed education was the only way to solve the problems that come with BYOD.

“The long term success of [BYOD] strategies will require a lot more education,” said Nushin Hernandes, analyst at Canalys. “Businesses need to ask themselves how aware their employees are and do they need to be trained.”

“If they don’t act quickly enough, they will find themselves in a reactive spiral, trying to catch up with the problems of deployments.”

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"The study showed employees had, on average, three devices they carried around with them to use for work, with 18% owning five"

Thats disgusting. Do these people have any sense of what security means? If you really need 3+ devices for wok, then I'd suggest that they need to oragnise themselves better.
5 devices! Your Kidding!

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The reaction here needs to be one of balance.  It is true there is a security concern regarding BYOD.  However, there is another concern.  I have a device I use to organize myself (my iPhone).  I own this device, it is mine, and all the software I have on it, I own.  It integrates with my Mac Mini Server, and my Mac Book Pro.  I run Open Directory at home with all of these pieces of equipment.  It would be an organizational nightmare for me to have to move all of my data to an employers ecosystem.  I would not be able to use all of the software I am already accustomed to.  I'm incredibly efficient with the tools I have, and I have all the tools I need to do my job in industry.  There would be no need for a "training time," as I can already do everything I need to with what I have.

An employer could mitigate this situation with a one time cost that addresses BYOD.  The money they would recover from this migration would be seen in not purchasing hardware, not maintaining warranties, not training people to use unfamiliar software, and in having better skilled employees, because they have to find their own solutions to some problems.

Some solutions include using standards (both OsX Mail and MS Exchange work with exchange server), Java based software (virtual machines can run on multiple platforms), 
and now, the buzzword bingo of the day, Cloud integration.

There are still ways to secure these configurations.  The idea that you are going to prevent every employee from bringing any device to work is... outdated.  It's time to address and embrace the trend.  Business can profit from it, or be destroyed by it.

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