It doesn’t take a genius to figure to that security and management challenges brought about by bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trends aren’t going away on their own. And, organizations are still flummoxed as to what to do next.
Two surveys commissioned by security firm Trend Micro Inc. clearly outlined that fact, indicating, if anything, that despite the widespread prevalence and acceptance of BYOD, there is plenty of room for partners to find comfortable niches in mobile device management and mobile security to help customers fill infrastructure gaps.
“Key Strategies to Capture and Measure the Value of Consumerization of IT,” conducted by Forrester Research, indicates that, by and large, organizations have accepted that BYOD is here to stay, with 76 percent enabling employees to use their own consumer devices for business-related tasks. Meanwhile, “Mobile Consumerization Trends & Perceptions,” conducted by Decisive Analytics, indicates the BYOD phenomenon is not only prevalent, but a top concern for most organizations.
Tokyo-based Trend Micro commissioned the two studies during the first half of 2012, surveying more than 600 IT professionals over the course of both research projects to glean information on consumerization trends and BYOD adoption and strategies.
One of the most significant findings was that, for many organizations, the issue has been around long enough to evolve from panic phase to action phase. Seventy-eight percent of enterprise companies contend they have or are implementing BYOD programs. Of those, 60 percent include smartphones in their BYOD strategies, while 47 percent also incorporate the deployment of tablets and laptops. And perhaps not surprisingly, the 70 percent of organizations maintain that the decision to initiate programs around BYOD was driven primarily by increased worker productivity and satisfaction.
Meanwhile, the vast majority of organizations (83 percent) that allow BYOD have policies in place that require device owners to install security software, addressing growing concerns around the loss of corporate data. Eighty-six percent of IT decision makers from the U.S., U.K. and Germany say the loss of corporate data on smartphones is the number one concern when consumer devices are connected to the corporate network.
And that concern isn’t entirely unwarranted. The surveys find that almost half (47 percent) of enterprises allowing employee-owned devices to connect to the corporate network have experienced some kind of data breach. Subsequently, data loss related to BYOD is typically – and predictably – followed by immediate changes to security policies and protocols. Around 45 percent say they responded to a breach with heightened data access restrictions for employees, while 43 percent required mandatory security software installation on all consumer devices. Few organizations (12 percent) shut down BYOD altogether following the breach, indicating that the vast majority of organizations feel the cost savings and efficiencies created with BYOD outweigh many of the security risks.
“Companies that are questioning whether or not to allow workers to bring personal devices into the workplace should just stop asking: it’s clear that you can get a competitive edge when you put the right precautions in place,” said Cesare Garlati, vice president of mobile security at Trend Micro. “The BYOD phenomenon gives companies that allow it a competitive advantage as it enhances innovation and creativity in the workplace while reducing overall costs for the entire organization. The key to not being overwhelmed by this trend is that all these devices need to be secured by implementing the proper BYOD policies and procedures. By working with a security partner that understands how to properly protect all devices across a network, companies can utilize this trend without being trampled by the deluge of information.”
Indeed, the findings from both surveys seem to suggest that many organizations are still wrestling with BYOD, despite its overwhelming acceptance. While most recognize the potential benefits of BYOD and have subsequently embarked on BYOD programs, few know how to implement these programs strategically. That’s good news for partners, who can still find lots of room in the mobility space to expand their existing practices and cultivate mobile device management (MDM) niches before the arena gets too crowded. Partners can address much of the confusion around BYOD rather easily, stepping in to fill BYOD knowledge gaps with implementation and best practices consulting. Once a strategy is in place, partners can govern an organization’s mobile infrastructure with MDM services, while implementing appropriate security mechanisms to minimize the risk of data loss. The comprehensive BYOD strategy should also include a host of remediation services in the event of data loss.
However, going forward, the surveys set the stage for the future of Trend Micro, which in recent months has hoped to gain more of a foothold in the mobility and BYOD space with the introduction of its MDM solution into the marketplace, amid a slew of similar competitive MDM launches by Symantec Corp., Sophos Ltd. and others. But how the MDM shakeout will transpire, especially in mobile device security arena, remains to be seen.
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