Asians more dependent on BYOD

Young employees in region more reliant on mobile devices, willing to circumvent corporate policies on BYOD as they believe it is a "right", survey finds.

Young employees in Asia are more dependent on mobile devices, already engaging in Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) due to the strong infrastructure, working culture and increasing affluence in the region, but are also more likely to circumvent corporate BYOD policies which must be a security considerations for Asian CIOs, a survey by Fortinet reveals.

According to the survey released Monday, more than 85 percent of Asian respondents already engage in the practice of BYOD, higher than the global figure of 74 percent. The top countries globally were South Korea at 93 percent, Singapore at 90 percent and China and Taiwan at 88 percent each. Consistent with global figures, more than 55 percent of them view using their device at work as a 'right', rather than a privilege.

The dependence on personal communication is also strong with 59 percent of Asian respondents admitting they could not go without accessing social networks, higher than U.S. figure of 14 percent and Europe and Middle East at 23 percent.

67 percent of Asian respondents are also unable to last a day without text messages. This is higher than the global figure of 47 percent, and the three highest figures in the world came from Asia with Taiwan at 70 percent, China at 69 percent and Singapore at 68 percent.

The strong adoption of BYOD in Asia is due to various factors, Patrice Perche, senior vice president of international sales and support at Fortinet told ZDNet Asia. The widespread broadband availability, Asians strong commitment to work, and rapid urbanization drive more young people to work in cities, he noted in an e-mail interview.

Their growing affluence also enables young workers to afford smartphones and handset manufacturers have successfully positioned high-end gadgets as "status symbols", he added.

"Compared to their counterparts in the U.S., Europe and Middle East, young workers here are significantly more attached to their mobile devices," Perche said. "This is not surprising, due to the rapid mobile device and social networking adoption in Asia."

The survey was conducted on 3,800 employees aged 21 to 31 during May to June 2012 in 15 countries--of which, 1,443 of the employees were Asians. These included Asia-Pacific countries India, South Korea, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan.

Asians less likely to comply with BYOD policies, security
It was also found that 47 percent of Asians were willing to contravene a corporate policy banning the use of personally-owned devices for work purposes, compared to the global figure of 42 percent. The three highest figures came from Asia, with India at 66 percent, China at 56 percent and Singapore at 50 percent.

The findings suggest that the "rule breaking culture" is more rampant among Asians youth, Perche pointed out, explaining that it could be due to the greater sense of entitlement as Asian countries gain clout on the global stage, and due to the growing acceptance of individualism as Asian countries get greater exposure to Western democratic practices.

Organizations may also face resistance when implementing security on an employee's device, as 54 percent of Asian respondents consider themselves, not their company, responsible for the security of their personal devices. This is substantially stronger than the number who believe responsibility rests with their employer, at 35 percent.

Asian youths have a more "cavalier" attitude than their counterparts in Europe and the U.S., when it comes to corporate security, with a large portion of them prioritizing personal convenience over corporate security, Perche pointed out.

That said, to a greater extent than those in other regions, Asian CIOs will need to tackle BYOD-related security issues more urgently.

"Asian CIOs must factor in this recalcitrance when protecting their enterprises‚ąíthat means the BYOD security solutions they put in place must be able to protect the organization in spite of users' non-compliance with corporate policies," he remarked.