Does BYOD Make Employees More Productive? Maybe

Posted on July 08, 2014

Are employees more productive using their own smartphone or tablet as part of a BYOD program? That's long been a tricky question for CIOs, but staff writer Tom Kaneshige answered the question in an article published over the weekend.

Quoting from a survey by BMC Software, Kaneshige says that the average BYOD-carrying employee works an extra two hours and sends 20 more emails every day. One out of three BYOD employees checks work email before the official start of their work day, between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. Three out of four IT managers claim, "BYOD is a big productivity boost."

Kaneshige also quoted a recent CompTIA survey that found that fewer than half of companies offering BYOD feel that it contributes to employees' productivity. That survey from CompTIA also found that a majority of the biggest companies surveyed were not allowing BYOD.

The infographic BMC published based on its survey includes this data:

Tablets Changing BYOD European Acceptance

BYOD is more prevalent in the U.S. than in much of the rest of the world, but a recent study from Frost & Sullivan says that tablets are bridging the BYOD gap in many European companies.

The Frost & Sullivan report says that the use of smartphones and laptops is widespread among enterprises, with nearly three out of every four organizations issuing corporate-owned laptops (74 %) and smartphones (71%) to their workforces. Tablets, on the other hand, are issued by only half (47%) of the surveyed enterprises. "However, these devices are expected to bridge this gap over the next three years, as many of the more data-intensive mobile applications migrate over to the tablets," the report titled The Future of Mobile Devices from a Customer Perspective"United States and Europe, says. "By 2016, the use of smartphones is expected to decrease from the current levels of 66 percent to 58 percent, while tablets are expected to increase from 49 percent to 56 percent."

Like other recent reports, Frost & Sullivan finds that there is a gap between BYOD acceptance and formal BYOD policies. "Approximately 58 percent of large enterprises have a formal BYOD policy, while only 20 percent of small businesses have a standardized policy," said Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Karolina Olszewska. "The most common method of enforcing BYOD policies is through network technology solutions at 67 percent, followed by mobile device management at 61 percent."

The Frost & Sullivan report shows that Android is the most common OS supported for company-owned devices, followed by iOS (41%), Windows Mobile (30%) and BlackBerry (28%).

Don't Let BYOD Put Your Data at Risk

Prat Agarwal, Director of Product Marketing at Breezy, says that the gap between the number of companies that allow BYOD and those that have a formal BYOD policy makes it easier for hackers and cyber criminals to access company data. "Enterprise mobility management (EMM) solutions do a wonderful job of helping companies protect data, but without training for the employees who are bringing their own devices to work to go along with the EMM products, there's still a big risk," Agarwal says.

The Definitive Guide to Mobile Printing, a free ebook published by Breezy, notes thatmobile printing and BYOD can create a security problem as well. Over 63% of the employees surveyed last year said that they transferred files from a mobile device to a cloud storage service like DropBox or GoogleDrive so that they could print the document from a computer that wasn't connected to the company network. "So an EMM solution that doesn't include secure mobile printing can still leave a gap " and the employee's desire to "get the job done" makes it attractive for them to create their own workaround solutions if the company doesn't provide both training and a more secure option that's as easy and quick to use as the insecure workaround," Agarwal adds.

Survey after survey shows that if employees can't print from their mobile devices, they will engage in behavior that can seriously compromise security such as transferring files to a cloud storage site, or emailing it outside the network to an unsecured desktop computer (at a business center, for example) where they can print it.

Another common attempt by employees to solve mobile printing problems leads to shadow IT ? that is a situation when an employee reads about or sees an unauthorized app that promised to solve their printing problem, and installs it on a device without IT control or approval.

Shadow IT in the form of third-party consumer apps is the Achilles heel of many mobile deployments. Fewer than 1 in 10 mobile device users know that there are malware apps that don't attack the infected device, but lie in wait to attack other computers or networks to which the device subsequently connects. Even fewer, about 1 in 10,000, realize that many mobile apps are designed with risky behaviors as a core part of the app.

"If you allow employee-owned devices, you need a BYOD policy, an EMM solution that includes secure mobile printing, and ongoing training for employees on how to avoid behaviors that put company data at risk," Agarwal explains. "All three are essential, because any one or two by themselves leave the company vulnerable."

For more information on how to use Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) to ensure mobile access to critical enterprise information without compromising security, download a datasheet or watch a video that explains how Breezy's secure integration with leading EMM platforms closes the BYOD security gap.

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