Bring your own device schemes (BYOD) is a trend that more and more businesses are taking advantage of -- requesting that their employees bring mobile devices to work rather than invest in large quantities of expensive equipment.
It makes sense from a financial point of view. Double dip recessions, businesses closing on a daily basis, and the general public entering combat arenas to try and secure any work possible -- tighten the ship, save the business. Growth may be sluggish, but if cutting costs in several areas means keeping staff on or being able to invest and expand a business, BYOD may be a good idea.
However, there are consequences to this train of thought.
Once you begin merging the work-life balance further -- personal devices also hooked up to receive work emails, employees using home offices and keeping an eye on things over the weekend -- it stands to reason that decentralizing work documents and communication will be the result.
Decentralize, and this may also impact the security of a business.
Employees generally need access to work documents if they are on the move. But if staff are not office-bound, then working together, how are files shared?
A new study has broached the question. Sponsored by SkyDox, the research was conducted between April 16 and April 30 2012, with the number of respondents pegged at 4,119 employees from UK and U.S. based companies.
The survey asked how employees are working with mobile devices and consumer-based applications, as well as whether staff turn to free file-sharing platforms to make their lives a little easier -- and if their IT departments were aware of this.
Many respondents stated that mobile working is becoming extremely important in the modern enterprise -- and 77 percent said that they required access to documents outside of the office. In marketing functions, 92 percent wanted access, 92 percent in finance, and 80 percent in sales. Only 35 percent in administration required access to corporate documents at home.
How many use their own devices, such as smartphones or tablets, at work? According to the research, 80 percent do. Every company, ranging from 200 to over 2000 employees, reported BYOD at over 50 percent -- and those in professional services, finance and healthcare instigated rates at over 84 percent.
Those in governmental roles haven't caught up -- with a BYOD rate of only 38 percent.
Free file sharing application use to share corporate documents is at a very high level -- 66 percent across the board -- and this soon may become a concern of businesses that have BYOD policies. According to the survey, the most prolific users of free file sharing applications are:
Professional services -- 87 percent;
Financial services -- 84 percent;
Healthcare --57 percent;
The creative sectors -- 55 percent;
Finally, the government sector at 54 percent.
Many employees stated they did not report their use of free file sharing platforms to their IT departments, and in turn, it was suggested that many IT departments do not provide a secure application for corporate files to be shared and edited by employees outside of the office.
Considering the issues that arise from taking corporate information from networks and placing them on potentially less secure and public platforms -- from IP protection, data security to compliance -- this issue needs to be addressed.
If you ask a member of staff to work outside of the office, then unless a secure platform is provided, employees will often turn to third-party platforms and applications -- potentially to the detriment of the business.