A quarter of businesses have BYOD policies in place

A quarter of businesses have BYOD policies in place

The bring your own device (BYOD) trend is continuing to grow in the UK as workers and employers alike are keen to take advantage of the benefits it offers in terms of efficiency and productivity.

Almost a third (31 per cent) of business owners, directors and senior managers said they use a personal smartphone for work; a further 19 per cent use their own tablets in the workplace.

However, a new survey conducted by YouGov has discovered that some firms may be leaving themselves exposed to security risks by not implementing clear, concise and stringent policies to control the usage of personal devices both in the workplace and on the move.

The SixthSense research found that 65 per cent of IT managers currently allow BYOD at their organisations, but just under a quarter (23 per cent) have a formal policy in place.

These generally cover regular data back-ups, the prohibition of access to certain types of data and the encryption of information on local and removable tablets, laptops and smartphones.

Resistance by employees to official guidelines were highlighted as a reason why some organisations have not implemented policies, with 41 per cent of IT managers noting a lack of enthusiasm from staff. A quarter said their BYOD policy had to be revised after complaints from staff.

John Gilbert, consulting director of technology/telecoms at YouGov SixthSense, said: "There are some worrying security concerns for businesses in terms of loss of confidential emails, work documents and business contacts information.

"Smartphones and tablets used for work are less likely to be password-protected than laptops and desktops. Given the overall lack of security currently in place on many personal devices, many organisations seem to be exposing themselves to risk by not taking or sharing responsibility."

With the Consumerisation of IT report showing the scale of the BYOD trend in the UK, it is important that businesses take measures to keep information safe and protect themselves against security threats.

The survey also found that organisations can be exposed to risk when a personal device, which is used for enterprise purposes, is lost or stolen. It was found that around one-in-seven UK adults have damaged a phone, while eight per cent have lost one and five per cent have had a device stolen.

Of those who had their smartphone lost, damaged or stolen, 15 per cent had work contacts on it, eight per cent admitted to using their device to store work documents and the same percentage used their handset for confidential emails.

Should this important information be stolen it could be very damaging for the company involved, which makes implementing a BYOD policy and mobile device management (MDM) crucial for businesses looking to cut down on the risks they are exposed to by employees using personal devices for corporate purposes.

MDM software can help a business manage, monitor and control the mobile devices being used by employees from one place. They cover various operating systems and can easily wipe data remotely, meaning it is less likely that important data will fall into the wrong hands.