BYOD Survey: 60 Percent Of Companies Don't Have Policies In Place

More than 60 percent of companies still don't have a BYOD policy in place, according to data protection and availability company Acronis' "2013 Data Protection Trends Research" study.

Released Wednesday, the study, conducted by the Ponemon Institute for Acronis, garnered responses from more than 4,300 IT professionals in eight countries. The study also revealed that nearly 80 percent of organizations have not educated employees on BYOD, said Anders Logfren, director of mobility solutions at Woburn, Mass.-based Acronis.

"The fact that 80 percent of the companies we surveyed do not train their staff on BYOD best practices shows us that we're really still at the early stages of this movement," said Logfren. "BYOD has been talked about for years, but now that it's become so pervasive in the workplace, no company can afford to ignore it -- let alone such a large majority."

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Ojas Rege, vice president of strategy at MobileIron, an Acronis partner specializing in mobile device management and security for large enterprises, believes that this study will act as a spark for organizations to wake up to BYOD concerns.

"The trend toward BYOD is going fast and furious; however, it takes time for communications of organizations to catch up," said Rege."This study is a catalyst and makes key information available to where the confusion is today and what needs to be done. [Companies] need to really start thinking about deploying BYOD and policies for legal reasons and obligations."

"In order to successfully transition into the BYOD era, without risk of data leakage or corruption, these companies need to take more proactive steps to integrate safe, enterprise-grade BYOD management tools that not only put IT back in control of sensitive data, but that are easy enough to use, so that employees won't feel bogged down by a movement that was meant to empower them," said Logfren.

Only 31 percent of businesses are mandating device passwords and key locks on personally owned devices, and 21 percent of companies perform device removal wipes when employees leave, the Acronis study found. Logfren believes this means sensitive data is increasingly at risk for theft and hacking.

"It would be all too easy for someone to access a file on a device left unattended at a conference or the train station. Imagine having your quarterly financials or entire marketing strategy accessible on your unprotected iPad -- that would be a nightmare for any company, especially if it fell into the wrong hands," said Logfren. "There are simple security precautions that can be easily implemented -- and these are the kinds of steps companies need to take as the BYOD movement continues to infiltrate SMBs and enterprises alike."

Nevertheless, there are still some companies that don't allow BYOD in the workplace, said Logfren. According to the study, 30 percent of companies are still rejecting BYOD and forbidding personal devices to have access to a company's network.

"Recently, BYOD wasn't a reality for most companies with this older mind-set and it's mostly because of security purposes," said Logfren. "Security entails many details and the challenge in a BYOD world is that companies want to stick mobile device management [into devices] but end users [are] reluctant and aren't as comfortable with the company having access to their device."

NEXT: BYOD Opens More Doors For The Channel

"When people are bringing in their own devices, it's not just the hardware. The device needs applications to unlock its power and make it a true business platform," said Acronis' Logfren. "So the opportunities for the channel [are] tremendous in providing solutions that are designed to help organizations be safe and secure."

MobileIron is a "100 percent channel business" and believes there is a solid opportunity with BYOD that will benefit channel partners, according to Rege. "This is a great opportunity for solution providers and what is great about BYOD is that it adds another layer of value for the categories of strategy services, policy and legal-based services and operational managed services and help desk structure for partners," said Rege.

BYOD is a user-driven trend, according to Rege, that will move more rapidly than what most organizations are used to.

"This research reinforces the message that BYOD is here and you have to take it seriously," said Rege. "Consumerization is here to stay and IT organizations will have to operate differently because the expectations have grown substantially and will continue to do so."