“Bring your own device” (BYOD) started out as just a buzzword, but it has now become a full blown phenomenon that businesses, both large and small, are challenged with every day. As employees increasingly use personal devices like smartphones, tablets and Mac® computers in the workplace, they may unknowingly be putting company data at risk without the proper BYOD policies and training. And, while these data protection issues and concerns aren’t new, companies are surprisingly still in the very early stages of protecting mobile data.
Today, Acronis launched its 2013 Data Protection Trends Research, conducted by the Ponemon Institute, which evaluated responses from more than 4,300 IT professionals in eight countries, and uncovered a number of interesting trends with regard to BYOD issues. I actually found some of these stats surprising as it really shows us that there are still lots of companies that are struggling with BYOD and the associated data security concerns.
For instance, the research found that, despite the increasing proliferation of iPhones, Androids, tablets and other devices, nearly 60 percent of organizations do not currently have a policy in place for BYOD and nearly one third of organizations strictly forbid the use of any personally owned devices.
Of course, the problem is that end users will inevitably find workarounds to restrictions and end up doing things that, at best, create inefficiencies, and, at worst, violate regulations and internal policies, or present a data leakage issue by exposing sensitive and confidential material. For example, many employees will start using public cloud services, such as DropBox, which are largely designed for consumer use and aren’t secured for enterprise environments. But, our research found that 67 percent of organizations Do NOT have a policy pertaining to sharing corporate file in a public cloud.
Whether companies like it or not, the BYOD movement is infiltrating their organizations – restricting personal device use or avoiding employee training and policy implementation is no longer an option. The only way companies can make a successful transition to the BYOD era is to meet it head on. So, from an IT perspective, here are a few questions to ask in order to find a BYOD solution that works for your company and employees:
1. How do the solutions fit within your security policies and infrastructure? For example, do you need a solution that integrates with Active Directory?
2. Do the solutions provide all the management capabilities that you need? In other words, can IT stay in control, even if a personal device with corporate data is lost or stolen?
3. Are the solutions simple enough for the end user so that employees will want to use them?
If approached intelligently, BYOD can become a very powerful advantage for any organization. It can drive greater efficiency, reduce costs, promote more-informed decision making, improve customer satisfaction and even make employees happier! The trick is to arm yourself with the knowledge to tackle BYOD concerns before they become major data security issues.
Check out our BYOD research infographic to see more results from our 2013 Data Protection Trends Research and stay tuned for more blog posts on other interesting trends revealed by the findings!