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Why Business Leaders Must Manage BYOD Trends

'Un-managed BYOD creates a great data security risk'

Across the globe, during the holiday season, more people purchased a new media tablet or smartphone equipped with Wi-Fi connectivity for broadband internet access. Some will want to use these powerful mobile devices at work -- in addition to using them at home or while on the go.

According to the latest market study by Ovum, employees in high-growth markets are more willing to embrace the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) to work phenomenon, and adopt the personal productivity benefits of enterprise mobility.

Ovum believes that the BYOD trend is driven by professionals in high-growth markets that seek to live and work much more effectively than their peers -- and the fact that there's less corporate provision of mobile phones or tablets.

As part of a large study that assessed employee behavior and attitudes towards a BYOD solution, Ovum revealed that across the 17 markets that they surveyed, 57.1 percent of full-time employees engage in some form of BYOD activity.

Yet, when broken down by market, there's a clear trend: 75 percent of survey respondents in the emerging markets -- i.e. Brazil, Russia, India, UAE and Malaysia -- demonstrate a much higher propensity to use their own devices at work, when compared to 44 percent in more mature markets.

"Employees in high-growth, emerging economies are demonstrating a more flexible attitude to working hours, and are happy to use their own devices for work. However, in mature markets, employees have settled into comfortable patterns of working behavior and prefer the separation of their work and personal domains," said Richard Absalom, research analyst at Ovum.

These individual preferences will shape future patterns of enterprise mobility

in different markets, and also dictate which markets, structurally, are going to benefit most from this revolution in how and where we choose to work.

Ovum says that employees in high-growth markets will see BYOD as a way to advance their careers, with 79 percent believing that constant connectivity to work applications enables them to do their jobs better, compared to 53.5 percent of respondents in mature markets.

A notable anomaly to this trend is in Spain, where 62.8 percent of employees bring their own devices to work -- that's well above the developed market mean.

"This could be related to the struggling Spanish economy: people are willing to use any and all means necessary to get ahead in their jobs, as losing them could be disastrous, given the high rates of unemployment," suggests Absalom.

For businesses, while some IT departments are actively engaged and encouraging such behavior in the regions where BYOD adoption is most prevalent, Ovum warns that too much BYOD activity is currently not being managed or supported by IT groups.

Of those respondents who bring their own devices to work, 17.7 percent claim that their employer's IT department does not know about their BYOD activity, while a further 28.4 percent of respondents say their IT department ignores it.

"Un-managed BYOD creates a great data security risk, and the implications of losing sensitive data via a personally owned device can be dire from financial, reputation and legal perspectives," concludes Absalom.

Every business leader must understand the BYOD behavior of their employees, which, as we have seen, is likely to be influenced by its location, and manage the activity according to its risk profile.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By David H Deans

David H. Deans is the Managing Director at the GeoActive Group. He has more than 25 years of experience in the Technology, Media and Telecom sectors.

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