BYOD busted? It's OK we know you're doing it.

Summary:48 percent of companies would never authorize employees to bring their own devices (BYOD) to work, yet 57 percent agreed that some employees use personal devices without consent.

"I swear I was working."

It's a rare day indeed, when I find a press release worth commenting on, much less printing in its near entirety but this one speaks volumes and needs no further commentary from me, except to say, "I told you so." So, here it is, a press release from Cisco. My impressions at the end.

Today, Cisco released a survey about tablets and mobile devices in the enterprise. Did you know that 48 percent of companies would never authorize employees to bring their own devices (BYOD) to work, yet 57 percent agreed that some employees use personal devices without consent? Yeah, we were surprised too. These are just a couple of the unexpected stats from Cisco’s just released global survey discussing IT manager’s perceptions about mobile devices in the workplace. The results from 1,500 IT managers and executives spanning six countries assess their attitudes, fears and hopes for mobile devices, including tablets, within the enterprise.

Here are some additional fun facts that may make you rethink the perceptions you have of mobile devices within businesses:

  • Globally, IT departments report employees place one tablet request for every three smartphone requests today
  • Spain is the most excited about tablet growth, with 90 percent of IT managers believing the tablet will become more popular in the next two years
  • A “huge problem” of the BYOD phenomena for IT personnel is that handling BYOD issues divert IT attention from other important projects (44 percent globally)
  • 75 percent of U.S. IT managers said new rules must be established around security and device usage

Cisco commissioned Redshift Research to survey 1500 IT managers and executives in the US, Canada, UK, France, Germany and Spain to assess attitudes, fears and hopes for tablet form-factor mobile devices ("tablets") in the workplace. Still a nascent market, 2012 is seen as a year in which enterprise-grade tablet computing will undergo significant change.

Redshift polled IT managers and executives in a wide variety of global companies of all sectors and sizes.  All respondents are either primary IT decision makers or play a key role in the decision process for all IT products. Sole proprietors were excluded from the study. Field work was conducted in late 2011.

Key findings include:

Tablet Demand

  • Tablets vs. smartphones: which win? Globally, IT departments report employees place one tablet request for every three smartphone requests today.
  • Which countries lead? Of the countries surveyed, theUS and France are tied for tops—each report a tablet is requested by 21% of the workforce. Senior executives are most likely to be issued a tablet in the US (38%) and least likely to be issued one in the UK (27 percent)
  • Who's most excited? Spain tops the list, with 90% of IT managers believing the tablet will become more popular in the next two years.
  • "Uber-connected sales guys". Tablets are significantly more prevalent among salespeople in Germany (31%) than in all other countries (21% on average).

Fears And Wants

  • Tops in security concerns? The U.S., the country with the most experience managing tablets, also ranks #1 on the "security issue": 75% of US IT managers said new rules must be established around   security and device usage.
  • What about app access? Nearly half (48%) of all IT managers surveyed agree that access to company applications should be restricted for all employees. Canada and UK were the top countries in wanting to see restricted access on tablet form-factor devices (55% and 56 %, respectively).
  • Custom apps? IT managers universally agree that custom tablet applications would benefit their business.
  • Top "want list" features? Globally, three-quarters of IT managers indicated email and document sharing are "must haves". About half agreed or strongly agreed that these are desirable: video conferencing, IM, access to company databases and seamless synchronization with other business devices.

"BYOD"

  • Turning a blind eye to BYOD. Globally, 48% said their company would never authorize employees to bring their own devices (BYOD), yet 57% agreed that some employees use personal devices without consent.
  • 51% of the respondents reported the number of employees bringing their own devices to work is on the rise.
  • Using personal devices without consent was highest in the US (64%) and lowest in Germany (49%).
  • Access to company servers was highlighted as a "huge problem" of the "bring your own device" to work phenomena as was lost/stolen devices (64% globally).
  • Globally, 44% say that handling BYOD issues diverts IT attention from other important projects.

Tom Puorro, director of product management, IPCBU, Cisco Systems

"Mobile workers and virtual workspaces are here to stay—but so are the demands on IT to continue to ensure enterprise-grade security, manageability and interoperability.  2012 promises to be an exciting year and IT leaders are a critical component in unleashing innovation and enabling organizations to take advantage of the next wave of business growth and opportunity. Cisco is keenly focused on helping its customers navigate the post-PC era and transform their business."

The statistics paint an interesting picture of the current state of flux that businesses are in with BYOD. BYOD is disruptive, it's irreverent, it's scary and it's happening. The best course of action is to deal with the trend intelligently and by meeting it head-on. Hiding in the shadows or ignoring it won't help but could lead to some costly problems regarding security.

I've never been the type of person who thinks that it's OK to raise the speed limit because everyone speeds but this BYOD phenomenon makes sense. And, I'm not suggesting that you blindly accept the premise of BYOD without doing some research. Every company is different and so is every set of users. Consumerization isn't going away; it's coming on strong and you'd better learn to manage it now.

What do you think the statistics are telling us about BYOD? Talk back and let me know.

Topics: Tablets, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility

About

Kenneth 'Ken' Hess is a full-time Windows and Linux system administrator with 20 years of experience with Mac, Linux, UNIX, and Windows systems in large multi-data center environments.

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