Three quarters of companies allow employees to bring their own devices to work
The trend to bring your own device (BYOD) to work continues apace with more than three quarters of CIOs reporting that they allow employee owned devices into the workplace, according to new research.
The study showed that 76% of CIOs have now said yes to staff that wish to bring their own smartphones, tablets, MP3 players and USB drives into the office, while 56% have stated they allow employees to use their own smartphones at work. The biggest challenge that CIOs face when allowing BYOD policies are security concerns, cited by over half (53%) of respondents, the study from Robert Half Technology showed. This echoes earlier research by the company, which found that more than three quarters (78%) of CIOs report managing IT security a challenge for their businesses. The most popular BYOD options are currently laptops (65%), smartphones (56%), USB memory sticks (51%), tablet computers (38%), external hard drives (27%), and MP3 players (19%). The use of employees' own smartphones is much higher in the Midlands (73%) and London and the South East (69%) than in the South West and Wales (46%) and the North plus Scotland (36%). Phil Sheridan, managing director, Robert Half Technology, said: 'There are a number of factors leading to the growth of BYOD, from company cost savings to employee preferences for using their own device. Consumer-friendly new technologies such as Apple's iPhone 5s has prompted my employees to rely on a certain level of productivity at work as they have at home. Only 24% of IT directors in our survey said that they do not currently allow employee owned devices into the workplace, so the tide has clearly turned in favour of BYOD. 'Companies need to consider a well thought out BYOD strategy if they want to attract the best candidates, especially IT professionals. Almost half (47%) of CIOs reported that allowing employee-owned devices into the company improved productivity, while 37% said that they improved employee retention and satisfaction,' he continued. However, organisations still need to be mindful of the security concerns reported by CIOs as challenges involved in implementing BYOD strategies, said Sheridan, adding that they also need to understand that there may be financial implications involved in upgrading IT infrastructure or providing BYOD related training.
On the plus side, just under a third (30%) of organisations said that BYOD helped to control capital costs while 22% said that it helped to control contract costs. Despite the reluctance of some IT directors to open up corporate systems to BYOD, the research found that IT departments were more likely than other groups across the organisation to drive BYOD initiatives. More than a third (36%) of respondents said IT departments were the key driver for implementing BYOD, more than general employee requests (33%), the leadership team (24%), HR (7%) and sales (1%). Sheridan concluded: 'Although CIOs have security concerns when considering BYOD policies, their teams are best-placed to implement the correct infrastructure to support extra devices in a safe environment and to understand the impact of extra devices and apps on the network.'