Companies Know the BYOD Risk, Yet Most Still Allow It: Symantec

By | May 07, 2013

Posted in: Network Security Trends

Despite the security risks involved in bringing personal technology into the workplace (BYOD), many employers believe that the benefits of allowing workers to use their own devices far outweigh the potential pitfalls, according to a recent Symantec survey.

The survey, which polled 236 attendees of the recent Symantec Vision conference on how their company is addressing BYOD, including risks, challenges, polices, usage and management of mobile devices, found that 70 percent of organizations report that the "benefits of mobility are equal to or greater than the risks and challenges associated with having mobile devices."

Brian Duckering, a senior manager of enterprise mobility at Symantec, wrote in a blog post that organizations appear willing to take on the security challenges that come with BYOD.

"What we found is that while most organizations allow employees to use personal mobile devices for business purposes, they also accept that doing so will likely result in a mobile security incident, he wrote. "Survey respondents clearly stated that the use of BYOD is worth the risk, but that they need technology to enforce policies and protect their organizations from mobile security incidents."

The majority of the respondents indicated that as a result of BYOD in the workplace, their organization has suffered a security incident within the past year, ranging from a lost or stolen devices (60 percent)to the exposure of confidential information (19 percent).

In this environment, the survey found that 83 percent of organizations polled "still allow employees to use personally owned devices for business use." Even if these organizations decided to restrict BYOD access, 42 percent of employees surveyed would still bring their own devices into the workplace, regardless of company policy.

The Symantec Vision survey did find that 59 percent of respondents report their organizations do not yet give their employees the same productivity apps on BYOD and corporate-owned devices. Duckerling said this is a necessary step until policies are enacted to protect organizational security.

"This is wise until they have technology controls in place to protect the organization. However, employees tend to disregard policies and continue to use unauthorized apps for business purposes on mobile devices regardless of policies," he added.

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