One third of smartphone owners go BYOD behind IT department's back

One third of smartphone owners go BYOD behind IT department's back

Summary: Staff are continuing to use their smartphones and tablets at work without the sanction of the IT department a survey finds, with businesses being warned not to take a 'King Canute' approach on BYOD.

SHARE:

Staff continue to use their own smartphones and tablets at work without the sanction of the company's IT department.

Out of 4,371 employees surveyed worldwide by analyst house Ovum, just over half — 56.8 percent — were using personal devices at work.

The proportion of users practicing Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) was almost unchanged from an Ovum survey last year, the Ovum BYOX: World Forum 2013 in London was told today.

The majority of staff who own a smartphone or tablet used them at work, about 70 percent, with more than one third of employees who used their smartphone at work doing so without the knowledge of IT or in spite of a workplace ban on personal devices.

Read this

BYOD and the consumerization of IT

Special report: The Bring Your Own Device phenomenon is reshaping the way IT is purchased, managed, delivered, and secured. We look at what it means, how to handle it, and where it's going in the future.

"If you take the King Canute approach and try and drive that behaviour underground you just lose control of it," said Adrian Drury, practice leader for consumer impact IT with Ovum.

Yet BYOD is still a no-no for a sizeable proportion of employees; while about 45 percent want to use a single phone at work and at home almost half, 45 per cent, believe the practice threatens to give managers an excuse to expect them work in their personal time.

And while BYOD may be common among smartphone and tablet owners, the majority of people using personal devices are only doing so for the occasional task rather than as their personal work device, the survey found.

Drury said the fact personal devices were only being used for the occasional task didn't remove the need for businesses to put policies in place to tackle the various security, compliance and financial challenges that BYOD poses. Just over one third of employees, 39 percent, said their companies had a policy supporting personal smartphone use at work.

When it comes to having a BYOD policy Drury said: "Now is the time to grasp the nettle. BYOD is not going away and it is modifying into Bring Your Own Apps."

"Bring Your Own Apps" is where an employee sources software they use at work themselves, rather than relying on corporately-sanctioned apps.

Overall, only a minority of employees surveyed are sourcing their own apps – 25 percent choosing their own enterprise social network, 22 percent file sync and 31 percent IM or VOIP apps.

However, of those employees who use enterprise social networks at work about half are sourcing their apps for this purpose.

"Employees are finding their own applications, it tells us that IT is not keeping up providing the tools that employees need to do their job," Drury said.

Topics: Mobility, Enterprise Software, Hardware

About

Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic UK. He writes about the technology that IT-decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

22 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Umm

    I would fire the IT people as this shouldn't be possible if security is in place.
    slickjim
    • Exactly

      Seconded. Any IT department worth its salt can keep track of any device connected on its network.
      truedoom@...
      • Not entirely true

        Many who BYOD are not entering on to the company network. They are still performing company work on a personal device because what service/device IT is providing is inadequate or slow or both. Since the device never touches the network the devices are not tracked.
        Corman911
        • So

          How do they get the data on the external device?

          And even more, the fact that they're working from a home PC without access to the company is irrelevant because that is not truly BYOD.
          slickjim
          • That's why this article is bull.

            If you bring a tablet or smartphone to work and it has no connectivity to the network or access to company data then it doesn't matter. Might as well call a pocket calculator BYOD.
            mikedees
          • Ye of little faith

            @slickjim, I am not talking about remote access. Carriers are making is very easy today for employees to bring their own broadband access to the BYOD environment. I know there are ways to prohibit the removal of data off of the network, but the employees are creating the company work on their own device or figuring out how to bypass your security efforts. I am not saying it is right, I am just saying that it is happening and we should pay attention to the toolbox voids we as professionals are creating and help the employee be more productive.
            Corman911
          • How do they get the data on the external device?

            Dropbox and MS OneNote can both sync with smartphones. It's not necessary to access the company network since it's synchronized via internet and yet can be synced back. That's the easiest form of BYOD.

            I do agree, if you allow your exchange server to be accessed from mobile devices which are not meant to, you should straighten up you IT Dept.
            seagair
  • Rogue Apps

    The last sentence is ridiculous. That may or may not be the case. You get people who refuse to use the perfectly good, company approved app that does the same thing; they used another in college or at a previous employer and refuse to switch. In these days of IT budget cuts, it's unsustainable. And with a tough job market, a good way to end up sitting at home looking for a new job.
    beau parisi
  • Head in the Sand

    @NickJHeath, good article about how as IT professionals we need to keep up with and recognize that BYOD is not going away. Not matter how many policies or work rules we make the employee is always looking to fill the void that we have missed in the tools they need to accomplish the mission of the company. We often use the "my way or the highway" mentality in IT and are closed down to new ideas or loss of control. I wrestle with my staff everyday on this very issue.
    Corman911
  • Simple

    Hide your wireless network so no mobile device can connect to it. Use MAC filtering. There are simple ways to stop people from using their own devices

    Let them bring their device to work, if they can't access the network what good will it be to them. At least once a week a user asks me if we have wireless in our office. When I answer yes they ask why they don't see it and they don't like hearing the response of because you aren't authorized to use it.

    Hell when users are allowed access we put in the wireless PWs just because. Not that any device who had the SSID and PW could get pass the MAC filtering anyway.
    Bates_
    • or

      Use a setup that won't allow non domain devices from connecting.
      slickjim
      • Im sorry, what is a MAC again?

        Unsure about highly expensive commercial network routing, but my home wifi router has this things called... erm... whatsit.... MAC filtering... which means as network admin, i have to add my new devices MAC address to the list before it can connect to my network.
        This just sounds like lazy whining IT staff complaining they have to do too much work to me.
        Funkmonkey
  • You missed an option.

    "Businesses face choice: Develop policies or lose control."

    Or option three, catch someone doing it and make a very public example of them as security takes them to the front gate and puts a boot in their backside.
    NoAxToGrind
  • Are they connecting to the network?

    One question needs to be answered: Are they connecting to the workplace network?

    It *is* possible to bring a device to work, but use it on the cell phone network rather than the workplace's own network.

    "the majority of people using personal devices are only doing so for the occasional task rather than as their personal work device, the survey found."

    Which tells me that BYOD isn't really taking off, because ZDNet is playing it fast and loose on its definition of "BYOD" in order to make it sound as if this were some sort of global movement.
    CobraA1
    • To your point...

      ...unless a device has been officially locked down and connected to our domain, the only thing we can do is connect to wi-fi, which is separate from the network. If I plug my personal laptop in an Ethernet port, I get nothing. The machine isn't recognized. Through wi-fi I can access email, but that's it. And it'd be silly to manage email that way regularly.
      jmagzdnet
    • Exactly.

      My company has a wireless network but it only allows access to the internet. There are no wireless access points connected to the corporate LAN/WAN. So someone bringing their iPad amounts to them being able to check out Facebook. And before someone says anything about directly connecting their devices to PC's and transferring files that way....

      A.) You can do the same thing with a thumb drive and no one calls that BYOD.
      B.) We disable USB ports and access to all external storage.
      mikedees
    • Not just about the network

      @cobraA1, how many personally owned smartphones do you have at your company? If you allow company email on those phones or any other type of company communication then that can and does fit the BYOD definition. It is not just about connection to the workplace network. It is about the employees ability to do the work of the company on a device not owned by the company. Sales people keeping contact lists on their own phone, expense reports on their own tablet, creating documents or spreadsheets on their ultrabook because it is easier to haul around. This happens every day and is a huge problem that must not be ignored and strategies needed to manage.
      Corman911
      • If you allow....

        If you "Allow" e-mail or other data on those devices then how is it behind the IT department's back?

        Users have to be "Allowed" to access data in that manner, and the devices have to be "Allowed" to interact with servers to retrieve it. That takes the active participation of an administrator. Even if the admin leaves those technologies wide open... it took active consent to do so.
        mikedees
      • thoughts

        "@cobraA1, how many personally owned smartphones do you have at your company?"

        Last place I worked at didn't even allow personal devices into the building - although that was a bit of a special case. Before that, I worked at a place that allowed us to bring devices to work, but didn't allow us to connect them to the workplace network.

        I don't think I've worked for a place that allows for proper BYOD yet.

        "It is about the employees ability to do the work of the company on a device not owned by the company."

        Well, from what I can tell, for most places that usually means VPN and/or remote desktop. And usually that's only for employees that really need it.

        "Sales people keeping contact lists on their own phone, expense reports on their own tablet, creating documents or spreadsheets on their ultrabook because it is easier to haul around."

        If that's a problem with your business - I'd say that's a policy enforcement or training issue.

        Make your policies clear on what can and can't be done on your networks, and make your required training reflect those policies. And the IT department should be taking technological measures to ensure that the system and network setups reflect those policies.
        CobraA1
        • Good discourse

          @cobraA1, I appreciate your response. I am only pointing out issues faced by organizations who do not embrace controlling such activities.

          You and I completely agree on the use of training and policies for how devices are used in the workplace. I do believe that we often think that if we have a policy it will be followed. My 25 years of management tell me that this is just not true. We must be active in our efforts to work with the employees to get them the tools necessary to be successful in their job. Today that does look like some proper management of the BYOD philosophy.
          Corman911