CDW study underscores ongoing gap in mobile management strategies

CDW's latest Mobility at Work study suggests that current efforts to support workers using personal devices on the job fall short of what's needed.

Mobility At Work study about BYOD management

Many months after we all started talking and writing about the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) phenomenon, most companies are still struggling to help their workers turn their personal devices — like smartphones, tablets, and notebook computers — into professional assets, according to a newly published CDW survey.

One big, upcoming issue uncovered by the research centers on the back-end infrastructure supporting all of these gadgets. In fact, nine out of 10 of the CDW survey respondents believe they will have detrimental effects on network infrastructure. For example, 63 percent were concerned about increased bandwidth requirements, while 44 percent expect increased server requirements as a result.

Only about one quarter of the overall 2,400-person survey base for the CDW Mobility at Work report was culled from small and midsized companies; among them, respondents were split between IT professionals and workers seeking corporate support for their personal mobile devices.

But I still think the trends uncovered in this study are those that should concern smaller companies grappling with how to accommodate mobile technologies.

Here are the ones I found most concerning and enlightening:

  • Only 51 percent of IT professionals actually talk to their employees about how they need to use their personal mobile devices. So they really don't have a good understanding of what they need to be worried about. Considering that at least 86 percent of BYOD workers are accessing or saving work-related information on their mobile device, they should be more worried.

  • The BYOD crowd understands the need for mobile security, and most (63 percent) are comfortable with using a password for network login. However, they will balk at more hardcore measures that could help, such as partitioning mobile devices to personal and professional data and apps. Only 25 percent of the BYOD workers were comfortable with that idea.

  • At least one third of the organizations surveyed (36 percent) aren't using a mobile device management solution, nor do they plan to do so. What's more, at least half of the existing deployment don't actually cover personal mobile devices.

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