Nearly half of firms supporting BYOD report data breaches

Nearly half of enterprises that allow bring your own device (BYOD) schemes have experienced a data breach, a study has revealed.

Nearly half of enterprises that allow employee-owned devices to connect to a company’s network have experienced a data breach, a study has revealed.  

Most of these companies reacted by restricting data access rights (45%) or installing security software (43%), according to the survey of 400 IT professionals by Decisive Analytics.

The firms followed these approaches, the survey report said, despite the fact that prevention is a better option than fire-fighting after an incident has occurred.

Only 12% of companies surveyed shut down their bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programme altogether after experiencing a breach.

This suggests that most firms recognise the benefits of BYOD can be preserved as long as proper security precautions are put into place, said Cesare Garlati, vice president of mobile security at security firm Trend Micro.

“Companies that are questioning whether or not to allow workers to bring personal devices into the workplace should just stop asking; it’s clear that you can get a competitive edge when you put the right precautions in place,” he said.

According to Garlati, allowing BYOD gives companies a competitive advantage as it enhances innovation and creativity in the workplace.

"The key to not being overwhelmed by this trend is that all these devices need to be secured by implementing the proper BYOD policies and procedures," he said.

On the other hand, not allowing BYOD is a "head in the sand" approach that is not a good security strategy, said Rik Ferguson, director of security research at Trend Micro.

"Any unreasonable restrictions will always be circumvented," he told Computer Weekly.

Ferguson believes security by consensus, that engages the business and supports business goals, is the best approach.

That inevitably means enabling BYOD in the most secure way possible, with 78% of organisations running BYOD programmes, according to a survey by Forrester Consulting. The survey found that 60% of these BYOD schemes included smartphones and 47% included tablets and laptops.

Employee productivity was the main driver for such projects, the survey revealed, with 70% of respondents citing it as a key factor.

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