BYOD Leaves Employers in the Dark

Organisations have vastly underestimated their employees’ desire for quality work devices and are largely in the dark as to the extent to which their employees are working around corporate policies. Half (50%) of employees now use their personal devices to access work files and data, yet employers believe this figure to only be 15% of their workforce – a disparity of 232%. This lack of cohesion is leaving organisations exposed to significant data security risks, wastes corporate investment in mobile devices and services and often leaves employees out of pocket (as 67% fail to claim back the costs of work-related tasks). While BYOD is largely heralded as the answer to this issue, only 17% of UK organisations have deployed companywide BYOD policies, significantly less than those who have deployed CYOD or ‘Choose Your Own Device’ (adopted by 31% of organisations).

Believed to be the first BYOD study of its kind to directly compare the actions and opinions of staff with the perceptions of their employers, Azzurri Communications set out to understand why BYOD adoption remains so low – at only 17% of UK organisations. With primary research conducted by Shape the Future, the study polled both IT decision makers at 224 organisations (i.e. employers) and 165 employees in order to draw a contrast between the views of both groups. The full report can be accessed here:

The most significant and alarming disparity regards how many employees access work files and data on personal devices, whose lack of enterprise-level security safeguards can expose company data to potential loss or theft. While companies only believe that 15% of their workforce do this, a staggering 50% admitted to accessing work data or files on their personal device. This is nearly 2.5 times (232%) as many as employers thought.

The majority of employees use their personal mobile phones for a range of tasks:

•65% use their personal mobile phone to make business calls at least every week (40% do this daily)

•44% use their personal mobile phone to send emails at least once a week (34% daily)

•8.5% use their personal device to access work file sharing sites (such as Dropbox) at least once a week

Despite the high numbers of employees using their personal devices for work purposes, the majority (67%) do not claim the costs back – either because they are unable to (55%) or are unsure whether they can (12%). Only 33% reclaim the costs of business-related tasks on their personal devices, which could explain why employers are in the dark as to the extent that this takes place.

Why do employees do this?

The primary reason for employees using their personal devices for work purposes is simply because their work devices are not as easy to use or don’t offer the same levels of functionality. In fact ease-of-use is by far the biggest factor, as cited by 82% of employees.

“By offering to meet the combined demands of organisations (lower communications costs) and their employees (one excellent device for both business and personal use), BYOD should, in theory, receive widespread support from both groups. Yet with only 17% of UK organisations adopting companywide BYOD policies, this is clearly not the case,” states Rufus Grig, CTO, Azzurri Communications.

“What’s more, companies are very much misguided when it comes to how much their employees use their own mobile devices for work related activities, raising questions of security, the usability of work-provisioned devices vs. consumer ones, the value-for-money that organisations are receiving from their communications services and even the work-life balance of employees. In our experience, and as reflected in this study, organisations get far better value and security from CYOD than they do from either the free-for-all and vulnerability offered by BYOD, and the safe but increasingly-bypassed corporate provision. In fact our study showed that CYOD was the most appropriate solution for 60% of organisations vs. just 13% who favoured BYOD.”

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine
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