Employee-owned devices causing confusion in the workplace

C LAPTOP.gifAccording to Gartner, the trend toward supporting corporate applications on employee-owned notebooks and smartphones is already under way in many organizations and will become commonplace within four years. The main driver for adoption of mobile devices will be individuals who prefer to use private consumer smartphones or notebooks for business.

However, more recent research from Mformation Technologies suggests that the majority of chief information officers are unaware of what consumer devices are being connected to their network and equally in the dark when it comes to the data being held on these devices.

According to Mformation CEO Todd DeLaughter, firms are preoccupied with mobile data security at the expense of tracking what goes in and out of their organisation. “IT strategies such as simplifying management by standardizing on specific devices or platforms are regularly overturned by users, who want to bring their own devices into the enterprise,” he said.

According to the survey, more than three in four CIOs don’t know what devices are connected to the corporate network or what data is on all of these devices. One in three are unable to track data on devices issued to employees and 77% said that unlike management of traditional computing devices, limited time and budgets - coupled with increasing complexity - has led to a lack of maturity when it comes to managing mobile devices.

Such limitations will have to be overcome if the findings of research conducted by IDC on behalf of Unisys are indicative of wider trends. IDC found that 95% of the information workers who responded to the survey have used technology they purchased themselves for work.

The most worrying aspect of this survey was the disconnect between employees and employers about how consumer technologies are used in the enterprise. IDC found that workers were using consumer devices at twice the rate reported by employers, but that employees think their employers are more permissive of the use of consumer technologies than they actually are.

For example, 52% of workers said they were allowed to store personal data on the company network, but only 37% of employers said that was the case.

According to Unisys, the results of the survey prove that workers want to use the devices and technologies they are comfortable with, but have little understanding of the security risks, management issues and policy and governance implications that arise from mass introduction of consumer devices and applications into the workplace.

Stewart Baines
Stewart Baines

I've been writing about technology for nearly 20 years, including editing industry magazines Connect and Communications International. In 2002 I co-founded Futurity Media with Anthony Plewes. My focus in Futurity Media is in emerging technologies, social media and future gazing. As a graduate of philosophy & science, I have studied futurology & foresight to the post-grad level.