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

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.


  • 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


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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  • *rolls eyes*

    So says Cisco the foremost maker of Network Access Control Appliances and the infrastructure that supports them.
    • RE: BYOD busted? It's OK we know you're doing it.


      They didn't fill out the survey on their own.
    • RE: BYOD busted? It's OK we know you're doing it.


      If you are considering BYOD for your organization (large or small) some sort of NAC is a necessary investment.
  • RE: BYOD busted? It's OK we know you're doing it.

    To me BYOD is a double-edged sword in many cases. While it sounds nice in theory there are many other items that need to be taken into account when doing something like that. Here are a few key points I am awaiting answers on in my own organization listed in no particular order:

    1. Who is going to support these devices and how much support do we give?
    2. If the device breaks does the organization repair or provide a replacement even on a temporary basis?
    3. Security - Extra background devices such as a Network Access Control (NAC) would have to be purchased to enforce security policies and access.
    4. Liability - If the user of the BYOD does something illegal or questionable on the device is the company liable if it is done on and/or off the company network or company time.

    These are just the primary concerns many IT Managers and Professionals have about BYOD. I could go on listing examples but I know from my own organization we have been faced with security and liability risks from the few BYOD's we allow. We have had teachers bring in laptops to connect to our "Guest" WiFi and students were literally able to get into the computer and files remotely because of the user's lack of security by having no password and having several public shared folders containing tests and other sensitive documents. Teachers that do bring in their devices such as laptops, tablets, and phones seem to expect the internal Technology department to pay for and perform all repairs and replacements on their personal devices because after all "They use it for work". Then we have had several devices come in with Malware, Illegal P2P Applications, "Adult" Material, and other illegal/questionable information.

    All this costs money regardless if the person pays for the device themselves and the organization has to determine is it still cheaper to provide certain devices to their employees that they can set up and control for security and usage.

    If security and liability for both the organization and end user are properly addressed then by all means bring in your device but that is a hard goal to achieve in some organizations.
    • RE: BYOD busted? It's OK we know you're doing it.

      @bobiroc some of the challenges posed by BYOD can be addressed by a virtualization solution that creates two separate personas on one device. One company that does that is Cellrox ( - corporate security policies are enforced on the corporate persona while employees enjoy the freedom to use their devices as they please, download etc. I also know that their solution is designed in such a way, that the device's native performance is kept as well. (Disclosure - I know the company and work with them - but I am not an employee.)
    • RE: BYOD busted? It's OK we know you're doing it.


      All questions many companies get stuck with. There is no perfect answer as each company and employees are different.

      1. We support our Apps on the device (Good Technology, Citrix, VDI) Everything else is employee governed.

      2. Explored but our cost would be too high. We have limited hotel type pc's. This is mostly a laptop concern as smartphones, tablets (which are the big BYOD drivers at the moment are not primary devices) One thing being evaluated is partnering with a local break and fix shop to have on site BYOD support. Everyone preaches employee community / wiki but the majority of our employees are not technical.

      3. A big one. We're rolling our two factor auth soon as well have DLP, DRM solutions in place. Frankly the easiest to do is only extend your data via Citrix / VDI but that is not BYOD to me .. it's the new dumb terminal model. People want to use their devices natively. The real desire is bring your own software.

      4. The biggest one which to me also includes privacy. With our BYOD the legal and compliance team have a lengthy agreement employees need to adhere to. Most just don't bother as it's too restrictive. The allure of BYOD works for some employees but most don't care. They don't want work having any access to their devices, don't want to limit how their device is used and most importantly don't want any expense on their part. BYOD works best when a stipend is provided as its a nice carrot to drive adoption.

      To me a year later, BYOD is only about two things

      1. Corporations shedding expense and putting it on employees. Similar to how health care is being dropped and HDHP are being pushed. They make it sound like your being enabled but your just absorbing costs the company wants to not have on their books anymore.

      2. A host of vendors offering some solution to help with BYOD. Many of these when deployed are semi corporate liable when implemented. Employees pick up on this really fast and question any control / security these solutions enforce.
      • RE: BYOD busted? It's OK we know you're doing it.

        @MobileAdmin & sharonam

        Many of the possible solutions you mentioned have been presented but one factor I did not mention for my organization at least is they are not willing to part with any money to make sure things are done properly and securely. Working in Education IT we have the "student" factor to deal with and we already have our share of wannabe hackers that cannot seem to find the time to do their homework or pay attention in class but instead do everything they can to try and circumvent the network and security. If I had a nickle for every kid that thinks they can get to their facebook by using a proxy website or app I would be a rich man. Even what security we have it is still very weak by my standards but I find that school's are very reactive to things like security and safety rather than proactive.

        It is a tough challenge in this changing market to find a happy medium that meets the needs of both the organization and the employees that work for them.
  • RE: BYOD busted? It's OK we know you're doing it.

    DOUBLE POST Sorry.. What is with ZDNet? Sometimes I post and it disappears and others it posts twice. Does this on many computers under a variety of browsers.
    • RE: BYOD busted? It's OK we know you're doing it.


      One of the reasons I hate posting here. Switch to Discuss already. This commenting system is broken