New research from BT Business reveals confusion amongst employees and employers when it comes to the use of employee–owned personal devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops in the workplace, signalling a need for businesses to establish clear Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) IT Policies.
The research, conducted amongst employers and employees, in SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises), revealed that whilst two-thirds (68 per cent) of employers claim to have IT policies in place enabling BYOD, only 39 per cent of employees appear to be aware of these policies. When it comes to communicating these policies, the research also reveals another worrying mismatch with over half (52 per cent) of employers believing that their policy is widely communicated, compared to just 18 per cent of employees who feel that this is case.
Bring Your Own Device - Here to Stay
BYOD is an increasing trend amongst business, with the research showing that almost four in five (77 per cent) employers now permit the use of personal devices at work. Almost half (47%) of employees already use their own devices for work purposes.
The research also points to a difference of opinion on other key issues:
While 73 per cent of employers are confident that if an employee were to lose a personal device containing work data they would report it to the company, only 29 per cent of employees would actually do this straight away before informing their service provider.
Only 18 per cent of employers believe it is their responsibility to replace the device if it is lost or stolen at work, compared to 43 per cent of employees who feel their company should replace it.
When it comes to security, 78 per cent of organisations say they have communicated the security risks to their employees, but only 32 per cent admit this is done regularly, with a clear majority, 68 per cent of employees, having been informed once or less.
Encouragingly, opinions appear in line when it comes to the right to wipe data on an employee’s personal device, with nearly half (49 per cent) of employers and 43 per cent of employees believing their employer has the right to wipe data if a device is lost or stolen.
BYOD offers businesses opportunities and productivity benefits but also new threats from having a wider perimeter for their security systems and processes to monitor, including having more devices coming onto the network that may not have been checked properly. To meet these challenges head on, businesses need to have a clear BYOD IT policy, the right combination of tools to implement it, the trust with which to deliver it to employees and the processes in the business that everyone understands and buys into.
To help businesses take advantage of the BYOD trend, while protecting themselves against potential risks, BT Business has launched a new guide. The guide sets out business and IT considerations, including tips on recognising what the drivers are for formally introducing BYOD, carrying out an audit of business needs and how BYOD is currently supported, networks and security.
Graham Sutherland, Managing Director of BT Business said: “Businesses are clearly embracing the BYOD phenomenon, and with great reason. Employees can pick and choose the devices they are most comfortable and productive with, and employers can reduce hardware costs. For a growing business, BYOD can make a real impact on savings and efficiency.”
“It’s encouraging that employees and employers appear to hold similar views when it comes to a right to wipe data if a device is lost, but there is a question as to whether employees fully understand the implications of this.”
“With technology evolving as quickly as it is, today’s IT manager certainly has his or her hands full. We want to help them to get off on the right foot with BYOD, by helping them to create a simple and effective policy that’s right for them, with guidelines on how to keep staff up to date and the rules front of mind.”
“Putting a policy in place now will prevent IT headaches down the line.”
The research was conducted amongst 100 SME employers, and 150 SME employees by ICM Research. An SME was defined as an organisation with between 50 and 250 employees. ICM interviewed a random sample of 250 SME employees and employers in GB online between 15th-20th May 2012. Surveys were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Further information at www.icmresearch.com
Download our guide to forming a BYOD policy (and make sure you communicate it once it's been agreed!))