Practicing safe BYOD

Acronis' 2013 Global Trends in BYOD, Cloud, Hybrid Environments and Virtualization Survey points out that most organizations aren't being safe when they use virtualized, cloud-based or hybrid environments. Amazingly, the company believes that it has the answer. They just might be right.

Acronis conducts a study annually to understand the market. This year it focused on the trends to "Bring Your Own Device" (BYOD), the use of virtualized systems and the use of in-house resources, cloud-based resources or some combination of those approaches.

Here are a few findings from the study:

  • Security is a problem as companies implement BYOD
    • Only 21% of the respondents' companies perform a remote device wipe (clear the contents of storage, passwords and the like to bring the system back to its out-of-the-box state)
    • Only 31% of the companies enforce a policy requiring the use of device passwords
  • Companies either don't have BYOD policies or are not enforcing them
  • Companies don't have polices to protect data in public clouds
    • 27% of respondents indicate their company has a policy in place
    • 20% said that their company didn't have a policy
    • 47% said their company didn't have a policy now, but there was a plan in place to write one
    • 6% responded that they didn't know
  • Staff often don't understand the implications of their use of their own device and yet 80% of businesses haven't trained their staff to understand the privacy and security risks the use of these devices can pose.
  • The survey findings showed that the use of Apple computers was on the increase — 65% of the respondents indicated their company will support Macs in the next 10 months, 75% indicated that they'll support Macs within 2 years.



 Snapshot analysis


I'm always suspicious of vendor-sponsored studies. Quite often, they are self-serving, badly executed and offer, at best, misleading results. It doesn't help that many of the PR folks start their promotional messages with references to reports offered by other research firms.

Since I've spoken with the folks from Acronis on many previous ocassions and think that what they have to say is worth hearing, I took some time to review the survey and the findings of the survey. Here's my quick take:

  • In part, this exercise is a effort to support Acronis' own marketing efforts and to make potential customers aware of the company and its products.
  • Acronis is using the results of this study to offer some suggestions about best practices to clients and potential clients.
  • Acronis, while gathering data for its 2013 Data Protection Trends Research Survey, interviewed more than 121,000 IT Professionals from around the world. The results are based upon 4,300 completed surveys. It is not clear if these "IT Professionals" are decision makers or individual contributors.
  • Although the use of staff members' own smartphones and tablets and the subsequent use of public clouds for storing company contact lists, proprietary documents and presentations is well advanced, few companies have really taken the time and effort to build and enforce effective policies for security or data protection.

It would be worth your time to seek out and read through the eBook detailing the survey and its findings Acronis has published. The findings quantify and support the anecdotal data I've gathered during conversations with clients and with attendees of events. In short, they're worth considering.