BYOD mobile workers thumbing nose at IT security

Nearly one in four BYOD mobile workers with smartphones and tablets are employing workarounds to bypass IT controls on corporate data.

Nearly 25% of mobile workers say they employ some sort of workaround on their smartphones to bypass IT controls and get at corporate data, while 12% of tablet users say they use similar tactics, according to the quarterly iPass Mobile Workforce Report.

While securing corporate data doesn’t seem of importance to some mobile users, their attitudes change when security involves their own data. Three out of four mobile workers said they use a passcode lock on their smartphones and 40% say they use one on their tablets, according to the iPass report.

iPass is a provider of global wireless networks.

Mobile workers’s desire to protect their data is a bit misguided, however, as passlocks are a notoriously lax form of mobile device security.

With Bring Your own Device (BYOD) becoming a major trend in enterprise computing, IT departments would be wise to saves users from the dangers of their own actions, according to the reports authors.

However, that is more easily said than done. There are a number of optioins to consider. Work is being done in the areas of authentication and authorization to automate access controls, using technologies such as OAuth 2.0, and in the areas of mobile device management and data encryption.

According to the survey, some IT departments are using remote wipe capabilities as a line of defense against data loss with 55% of mobile workers saying they are required to have the capability on smartphones while 30% say it is required on tablets.

Nineteen percent said they are not required to have wipe capabilities on their smartphones, while 10% said they don’t have it on their tablets.

Overall, 74% of companies require some form of security to protect corporate data on a smartphone and 24% require that protection on a tablet.

Those that try to bypass the security say they have their reasons: 16% said IT is slow in responding, 21% said they needed to do something immediately and could not wait for IT, 10% cited strict IT policies, and 9% said it was too much hassle to deal with IT.

The survey concluded that the sense of ownership that accompanies BYOD may be encouraging mobile workers to bend IT rules and take the attitude of ‘my device, my rules.’

The iPass survey predicts the next area of clash between IT and end-user clash will come over BYON, Bring Your Own Network, where mobile workers will bring their own roaming plans from their service providers. iPass said enterprises will have to consider connection managers to enable seamless handovers between networks, universal access methods and an open footprint to Wi-Fi networks.

The iPass Mobile Workforce Report was built from surveys of 1,200 mobile workers at hundreds of enterprises worldwide. The survey was conducted between June 19, 2012, and July 13, 2012.

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