Enterprises need to educate employees about BYOD risks

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BYOD continues to pose more and more support and security challenges for the enterprise.

According to a recent survey conducted by Osterman Research on behalf of Dell (NASDAQ: DELL), three out of five enterprises believe that BYOD represents a growing problem.

Problems identified by the survey include support for personally owned devices is more difficult than it is for company-supplied devices, the cost of managing mobile devices can increase, content management becomes more difficult, network and application security are placed at higher risk and corporate governance can become very difficult to manage.

This is certainly not the first survey that finds misgivings about BYOD among enterprises, and it won't be the last. In Europe, as a whole, 28 percent of enterprises allow BYOD, compared with 34 percent in North America and 48 percent in Oceania (Australia and New Zealand), according to a survey of 4,500 ISACA members.

A full 40 percent of U.K. respondents to the ISACA survey said that their enterprises prohibit the use of personal devices at work, while 23 percent said their enterprises allow BYOD.

In the United States, even where acceptance of BYOD is growing, IT departments continue to express their frustrations. A recent survey of 477 IT executives, conducted by Wi-Fi provider iPass and mobile device management firm MobileIron, found that IT executives are growing increasingly frustrated about the rising costs from employees bringing their own devices to work and their lack of control over mobility budgets.

Despite the support costs and security risks, more than two in five organizations have yet to develop a formal, documented policy for BYOD, the Osterman survey found.

A security strategy or plan is essential to prevent the BYOD trend from becoming the bring-your-mobile-malware to work.

The bottom line is that personal mobile devices in the enterprise are here to stay. Technology might provide part of the solution to improve security. But the best strategy for enterprises is to make mobile devices as secure as possible is through strong BYOD policies and by educating employees about the risks. -- Fred