BYOD Goes Mainstream, But Security, Management Remain Issues

An on-site survey of network engineers, IT directors and executives attending this year’s Interop event in Las Vegas has found that the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend has crossed the chasm: 95 percent of survey participants indicated their organizations have embraced it, allowing employees to connect via personal mobile devices to internal networks. However, only one-third of these companies have BYOD policies in place, indicating a growing security and management concern.

The survey, carried out by Network Instruments, found that as the use of personal devices on corporate networks increases, 54 percent of network managers reported end-user experience improved while using mobile devices, but more than 40 percent indicated their ability to monitor applications worsened. Only 17 percent saw improved monitoring.

“When members of your sales team are using their personal devices more frequently to access the internal network, IT departments have to rethink how they are keeping end users productive, securing their data and resolving issues quickly,” said Charles Thompson, director of product strategy at Network Instruments. “Fortunately, today’s performance management solutions can help IT teams understand evolving performance expectations and proactively manage user experience when BYOD comes into the picture”

Of the 95 percent of those allowing personal portable devices, 97 percent of the respondents use laptops, followed by 79 percent connecting with smartphones, 70 percent with tablets and 34 percent use external USB drives.

Only 33 percent have any official BYOD policy governing the use of personal portable devices; 67 percent do not. That’s not to say they’re not thinking about it: When listing the biggest challenges in managing portable devices, 51 percent indicated identifying and tracking mobile devices as the major concern. This was followed closely with tracking security vulnerabilities and patches at 47 percent, and troubleshooting portable devices was identified as causing problems for 42 percent of the survey participants. About 38 percent indicated troubleshooting became more difficult after allowing the use of personal portable devices.

In the good news column however is the fact that employee satisfaction has gone up with BYOD. When allowing users to bring portable devices, 54 percent reported improved end-user experience, compared to only eight percent of end users reporting deteriorating conditions.