Networking

BYOD: "The Inmates of the Asylum Have Control"

Just 5.2% said allowing personal mobile devices to access the corporate network has decreased employee productivity, and 27.5% said they haven't seen any change in behavior.

On the security front, respondents were asked if a non-company-issued mobile device has been responsible for a security breach on the company network. Just 5.7% of respondents said yes, while 66.7% said no and 22.7% said they're unsure.

Among the respondents with anecdotes about BYOD-spawned security incidents, the most commonly cited culprits were personal laptops that introduced a virus on the company network.

On the support front, nearly two-thirds of survey respondents are in agreement on one particular BYOD issue: They need management help.

When asked if they have the necessary tools in place to manage non-company-issued mobile devices on the network, 65.3% said no, 27.5% said yes, and 7.3% said they're not sure.

With the increased use of mobile devices, 44% of respondents said they've experienced an increase in helpdesk requests, 40.7% said they've experienced an increase in network traffic, and 15.9% said they've experienced an increase in security issues. Just over 14% said they've seen an increase in all three of those areas. At the other extreme, 28.3% said they've experienced none of those upticks.

One respondent noted "an increase in workload due to a more diverse hardware and software infrastructure," and another said the management overhead is so significant "we needed to outsource mobile phone device management to keep up with demand."

Respondents said they're employing a wide range of vendor tools and security tactics in order to provide safe, productive mobile access to employees. Usage policies vary, and many are a work in progress as business priorities shift and access technologies mature. Determining security policies that can be reasonably enforced on personal mobile devices is tricky. In some cases, companies have found they need to rethink blanket bans on personal devices at work as the BYOD trend gains momentum. To ignore the trend could be a big gamble.

"Our current policy disallows all personal devices on the corporate network. However, we're not enforcing this. We are in the process of developing a useful/enforceable version of the policy," one respondent said.

Put another way, another survey respondent humorously noted the mobile device management challenge is constantly evolving "because the inmates of the asylum have control."

Read more about anti-malware in Network World's Anti-malware section.

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