Despite the persistent hype around the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) model, most Australian enterprises do not provide support for staff members' personal devices being used for work, according to a study by VMware.
The virtualisation vendor began a study into the consumerisation of IT last year. This year, VMware surveyed 2,100 people in the Asia-Pacific region, of which 153 were from Australia.
Of the local workers surveyed, 77 percent said their companies don't support personal devices that are being connected to the corporate network. That's only a marginal improvement — 2 percent, to be exact — from last year.
"From an IT perspective, if you think about the fact these employees are actually accessing corporate networks, accessing corporate data and files, that poses huge threats to information security and compliance," VMware end-user computing expert Asanga Wanigatunga told ZDNet. "These companies don't know where the data is going, and machines are being brought in unsanctioned."
Risk aversion is one reason why enterprises have been slow in formally adopting BYOD, according to global recruitment firm Ambition.
The study also found that most IT departments know employees are doing BYOD, but still refuse to support it. This leaves 70 percent of staff trying to fix their device problems themselves, with 60 percent turning to Google's search engine for help.
"From an employee perspective, not supporting BYOD brings their productivity down, because they have to spend so much more to resolve any device issues," Wanigatunga said. "It looks like enterprise IT is actually a big inhibitor of BYOD, which is a huge concern for organisations."
One of the things that companies need to work out is how to offer BYOD to workers to facilitate flexible working without compromising IT security, he said. But Wanigatunga recommended against excessively locking down the corporate IT environment for security reasons, because it will defeat the whole purpose of why workers bring their own devices in the first place.
"They're bringing them in to be more productive" he said. "But if you go down the secure path, you won't get the productivity gains."
It's a fine line that companies need to walk, but failing to address BYOD will make enterprises less competitive, according to Wanigatunga; 41 percent of the VMware research's respondents indicated that they prefer to work for businesses with more technological freedom.