Europeans exhibit more caution regarding BYOD

This increased BYOD prudence in Europe has not translated into formal policies
This increased BYOD prudence in Europe has not translated into formal policies

Of those surveyed, cybersecurity threats, employee-based data loss, and the use of personal devices on enterprise networks were identified as the three most important security risks. BT said the overall results showed that innovations in the IT marketplace are creating “risks to business [that] are moving too fast for a purely reactive security approach to be successful”.

BT’s research, conducted by Vanson Bourne, took in responses from 11 different countries, including the UK, France, German, Spain, Italy, Benelux, the US, Brazil, China, India, and Singapore.

The study, called ‘Rethink the Risk’, also showed that BYOD is – as widely publicized – in full swing, with 60% of respondents reporting that they use personal devices for work. Many organizations seem to be on board the BYOD bandwagon as well, with 82% saying they already allow BYOD or will do so within the next two years.

There were, however, significant regional differences when it comes to permissive BYOD polices. For example, 92% of respondents in China said their employers allow them to use personally owned devices on enterprise networks, while only 37% from the UK were able to make the same claim. The survey trends indicate that Asian countries tend to be more permissive when it comes to BYOD, while those in Europe have approached the trend with considerably more caution.

This increased prudence in Europe, nonetheless, has not translated into formal policies. Respondents from China (53%), Brazil (51%), and the US (50%) reported their organization had a formal BYOD policy in place, while those in Italy (25%), the UK (31%) and Germany (34%) lagged considerably behind with respect to such a policy.

Regardless of its increasing ubiquity, the bring-your-own-device trend is very much security concern for organizations that already have or soon plan to have a permissive policy in place. Seventy-four percent of respondents who already implemented BYOD said that security was their primary concern, and four of 10 companies reported some manner of security incident involving an unauthorized personal device.

IT decision makers also exhibited concerns over the personal device trend, with just 11% believing that employees were aware of the accompanying risks to enterprise networks. Add to this the 32% of surveyed end users who said they saw “no risk” in using their own devices for work, and you have “a very dangerous situation”, according to Jeff Schmidt, BT Global Service’s global head of business continuity, security, and governance.

Schmidt said IT decision makers “need to tackle a range of issues before they feel able to introduce a formal BYOD policy”. Among the primary concerns the survey showed needed to be addressed: security issues (malware, viruses), the cost and complexity of setup for multiple devices, potential threats to intellectual property, and increased data usage/mobile expenditures.

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