Increased support costs and security worries could wipe out benefits, study finds
One of the many benefits championed by bring your own device (BYOD) advocates is that it will reduce costs for the business in terms of hardware and support. However new research from Lieberman Software has cast doubt on that claim.
The security company's research found that most organisations don't believe there are financial benefits to having a BYOD policy. The majority (67%) of respondents said they believe BYOD actually increases costs to a business, with just 23% saying the opposite. The remaining 10% were unsure.
Companies could be expecting costs to go up because of the extra pressure on IT to support a variety of devices and operating systems, which workers will be bringing in on iPads and iPhones as well as a plethora of Android smartphones and tablets. However there is another area where a BYOD to have negative consequences for a business: security.
The survey found that almost half (43%) of respondents said the biggest headache from BYOD is viruses getting onto the corporate network. Next up was an employee losing a device and the data protection issues that raises (26%), followed by employees using their own device to steal private data (22%).
Philip Lieberman, president and CEO of Lieberman Software, said vendors such as Apple were partly to blame because they pitch their products as tools for the workplace, even if they do not meet the strict security regulations many businesses have in place. This gives employees the confidence to use their devices for work despite the security risks attached.
"We've been here before. It's the same classic back door sales process used to promote PCs in the 1980s, where the large IT shops controlled both the glass house and what was on the desktops," he said. "Back then users and managers would show how PCs were better, faster and more flexible than the 'stone age' solutions offered by IT. Ultimately IT was forced to adopt PCs as their corporate standard."
"The new twist today is that the interlopers are devices that will always be owned by the consumer, not the company," he added.
This means companies have to adopt security technologies that do not meet their means, Lieberman said.
"In today's consumer-owned devices, the ability to adopt and sustain enterprise access and revocation controls is non-existent or impaired. In an effort to meet the demand of BYOD, enterprises are being forced to employ soft certificates with diminished security," he said.
"While end-users might love the convenience, a lost or compromised device can fast become a nightmare for the CIO. Make sure you understand what you're opening the organization up to when you allow, or even encourage, your workforce to bring their own devices," he concluded.