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Gartner: Security seen as major obstacle to BYOD

Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) is gaining momentum in the workplace and the trend is expected to intensify in the coming years. BYOD growth is supported by a desire to cut IT costs and improve employee satisfaction.

A recent report by research company Gartner predicts that by 2017, half of all employers will require employees to supply their own device for work purposes.

The report, entitled “Bring Your Own Device: The Facts and the Future” indicates that security remains the top concern for BYOD.

“The risk of data leakage on mobile platforms is particularly acute,” Gartner analysts wrote. “Some mobile devices are designed to share data in the cloud and have no general purpose file system for applications to share, increasing the potential for data to be easily duplicated between applications and moved between applications and the cloud.”

The writers note, however, that IT is catching up with the phenomenon of BYOD and more than half of the organizations surveyed give themselves a high rating for securing corporate data on enterprise-owned mobile devices.

“We’re finally reaching the point where IT officially recognizes what has always been going on: People use their business device for nonwork purposes and often use a personal device in business,” said David Willis, chief of research at Gartner.

“Once you realize that, you’ll understand you need to protect data in another way besides locking down the full device. It is essential that IT specify which platforms will be supported and how; what service levels a user should expect; what the user’s own responsibilities and risks are; who qualifies; and that IT provides guidelines for employees purchasing a personal device for use at work, such as minimum requirements for operating systems,” added Willis.

Gartner notes that BYOD is most prevalent in midsize and large organizations ($500 million to $5 billion in revenue, with 2,500 to 5,000 employees). The report shows that American companies are twice as likely to allow BYOD as those in Europe, where BYOD has the lowest adoption of all the regions. But employees in India, China and Brazil are the most likely to be using their own mobile phones at work.