BYOD in India: Employees Keen; IT Treads With Caution

By Anup Varier, 26-Apr-2012

IT departments are open to allowing employees the freedom to use their personal devices for work but are yet to overcome all the issues associated with it

Communications services and solutions provider British Telecom recently released a research summary of its survey ‘BT Assure- Rethink the Risk’. The survey includes responses from more than 2,000 users and decision makers across 11 countries including India.

The survey results seem to indicate that despite the usual concerns of security, BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is making definitive progress within the corporate environment. 60 percent of employees surveyed admitted that they are allowed to use their personal devices for work.

India, not generally known for deploying cutting-edge technology, is surprisingly ahead of the global average. 80 percent of the employees from India claim that their companies permit them to connect to the corporate network with personally owned devices and use them for work.

“While company sanctioned BYOD is generally high, the level of use stated by employees is higher than what the IT-decision makers acknowledge,” says Jeff Schmidt, Head of Security, BT Global Services.

73 percent of IT decision makers in India have admitted to a security breach due to an unauthorized device.

This information is consistent with Forrester’s workforce employee survey of 9,900 information workers in 17 countries, where employees admitted to using an average of about 2.3 devices for work, including personal devices they use for work purposes.

“But if you only ask the IT staff how many devices they think a typical information worker uses for work, the answer will be that most use just a PC, some use a smartphone, and a few use a tablet,” says Frank Gillett, VP and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research.

The BT research also shows that 82 percent of companies say they already allow BYOD or will do within the next 24 months. This is slightly in contrast to their readiness where 73 percent (double the global average of 39 percent) of IT decision makers in India have admitted to a security breach due to an unauthorized device.

But roughly 50 percent of IT decision-makers in India who have a BYOD policy say they can immediately identify an unauthorized device connected to their network while another 45 percent claim to be able to spot one though not immediately, the study suggests.

The BYOD trend, it seems, is no longer just a fad. “This trend is set to continue, at least in the medium term. Employees will want to bring in new devices regularly, so CIOs need to stay up to date on consumer product launches and closely monitor what is being brought onto the corporate network,” says Richard Edwards, Principal Analyst- Enterprise IT, Ovum.

The cost impact of such a trend is also not lost on organizations especially in India. While 31 percent of the total number surveyed report a net cost, in India and China this reaches 50 percent and 53 percent respectively. “So while they appear to be on top of the game, it is costing them,” says Schmidt.

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