To BYOD or not to BYOD – A CIO headache

Last updated: 21 March 2014

The next in our series of blog posts looking at the security issues affecting CIOs in the modern era focuses on the rise of personal internet devices being used at work. In fact, there’s a good chance you’re reading this post on a personal device, perhaps on an enterprise internet connection? It’s something we’re all familiar with today, so if you’re a CIO concerned about the BYOD landscape in your office, be sure to let us know your thoughts below.

The term which has been coined to define this trend (‘Bring Your Own Device’ or BYOD) implies end users are being actively encouraged by their employers to use their own consumer technology in the workplace. In fact, according to our research, instances of formalized BYOD policies are still relatively rare. Just 17 percent of CIOs polled were operating a fully-fledged BYOD policy, while 60 percent said their device policy was enterprise-mandated.

Yet this is not to say consumer devices are not already found in the workplace. 59 percent of respondents said they were already having to deal with tablet computers in their company, with the UK showing the highest proportion of tablet users: 77 percent of British CIOs said tablets were a consideration for them. The respondents overwhelmingly agreed tablets were creating a new security challenge, with 64 percent of CIOs sharing this view.

However, it is obviously not a problem to which many feel they have found an answer: less than half of the CIOs researched believed their mobile policy was a success. An overwhelming majority (84 percent) admitted their current mobile policy carried an element of risk, although relatively few (13 percent) felt the threat was very serious.

This suggests businesses may be suffering from a failure to agree on a formal policy for employees bringing their own devices to work. The fact that tablets and smartphones are now commonplace concerns should be the wake-up call CIOs need to fully embrace BYOD. The old adage ‘failing to prepare is preparing to fail’ is very pertinent in this case. Consumer devices are making their way into the workplace whether CIOs like it or not, and securing them is one of the biggest challenges CIOs will have to face over the next decade.

If you’d like to read more findings from this research then you can download our free whitepaper compiling all the findings here. I’d be very keen to hear what you make of the results, so if you have any thoughts do leave them below.