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Cisco says businesses love BYOD, but stresses the need for IT control

by Doug Drinkwater

May 18 2012

Cisco's study was based on the opinions of 600 IT and business leaders in the US
Cisco's study was based on the opinions of 600 IT and business leaders in the US

The bring-your-own device (BYOD) trend is booming, and while a new report from Cisco does little to quash such a claim, issues around IT governance clearly remain.

Cisco’s IBSG Horizon Study was released earlier this week, and took in the opinions of 600 IT and business leaders in the US on the ascent of workers bringing their own smartphones and tablets into the workplace.

And as to be expected, there were some strong figures in support for BYOD, with 95% of organizations allowing employee-owned devices in some form in the workplace, and 76% admitting that BYOD was great for businesses, even if it remains slightly challenging for IT departments.

Additional claims indicated that the average number of connected devices per worker is due to increase from 2.8 in 2012, to 3.3 by 2014, and suggested that around 40% of respondents said that having a choice over their device was the main reason employees want to use their smartphones and tablets at work. Cisco workers, in particular, are pretty keen on the bring-your-own-device trend, and are willing to spend $600 on average to purchase personal devices to help them work.

There was further good news for business owners too, with Cisco's research highlighting that businesses can save anywhere between $600 and $1,300 per employee, simply by migrating to a BYOD program.

However, despite all the acclaim for the trend, Cisco recognized in its report that this trend can be problematic for IT departments, with security and privacy the two big issues, along with the need for IT to support a collection of different mobile platforms. Furthermore, another issue would seem to revolve around who pays the service costs for these personally-owned devices, with Cisco stating that only 14% of BYOD costs relate to hardware.

Cisco stresses a key factor in the success of BYOD depends on IT departments being able to manage and track these personally-owned smartphones and tablets.

"As the number of devices being brought into work increases, organizations need a comprehensive mobility strategy," said Padmasree Warrior, senior VP and CTO for Cisco, in a statement.

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