Unmanaged BYOD Creating Risk

The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) phenomenon has entered the mainstream, with nearly 70 percent of all smartphone-owning professionals now using their personal device to access corporate data, according to Ovum. However, almost 80 percent of today’s BYOD activity remains inadequately managed by IT departments, leaving businesses not only at risk of data loss but unable to claim they took reasonable preventive measures, says the global analyst firm.

In the largest study conducted into employee BYOD behavior and attitudes, surveying more than 4,000 full-time employees, Ovum found a disturbing lack of awareness by IT professionals about the BYOD trend. Nearly half of the respondents said their employers’ IT departments either did not know of BYOD or were ignoring its existence, operating a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, while an additional 8.1 percent actively discouraged it. BYOD acceptance was significantly lower in mature economies with more rigid working practices, such as those of Continental Europe, compared to high-growth economies such as Brazil, India and South Africa.

“Despite much speculation, BYOD is here to stay. Therefore, it’s worrying to see evidence of such a high proportion of businesses burying their head in the sand when it comes to planning adequately for it,” said Richard Absalom, senior analyst at Ovum. “BYOD multiplies the number of networks, applications and endpoints through which data is accessed. These are the three main points at which data is vulnerable; so, if left unmanaged, BYOD creates a huge data security risk.”