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Alarm bells ring for BYOD security as report slams ‘ignorant’ IT departments

by Doug Drinkwater

October 23 2012

Market research firm Ovum has published an eye-opening study on the lack of security measures employed by companies looking to manage the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend.

The group’s BYOD study revealed that nearly 70% of smartphone-owning professionals now use their personal devices to access corporate data, but suggested that 80% of these devices are not adequately managed by their IT departments.

Such gaping security measures could not only leave businesses at risk of data loss, but also unable to claim that they took the right preventative measures, claims Ovum.

The report took in the views of over 4,000 full-time employees, supposedly making it the largest BYOD study to data, and found that there was a ‘concerning level of ignorance’ from IT professionals on the BYOD trend.

Ovum revealed that nearly half of respondents’ employers’ IT departments did either not know of BYOD or were ignoring its existence, with a further 8.1% actively discouraging any acceptance of BYOD policies.

This ignorance even had some bearing geographically, with Ovum reporting that IT ignorance festered in mature economies with more rigid ways of working, like continental Europe. In comparison, companies in fast-growing economies like Brazil, India and South Africa were more open to the idea of BYOD and the need to secure these devices.

“Despite much speculation, BYOD is here to stay. Therefore, it’s worrying to see evidence of such a high proportion of businesses burying their head in the sand when it comes to planning adequately for it,” said Richard Absalom, senior analyst at Ovum.

“BYOD multiplies the number of networks, applications, and end-points through which data is accessed. These are the three main points at which data is vulnerable; so, if left unmanaged, BYOD creates a huge data security risk.” 

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