Employees are using their own equipment at work more and more, mixing their private and professional lives. However, IT and compliance departments are not implementing proper policies to deal with this trend. How far are companies at risk?

Personal Devices at Work: Companies Still Lack Adequate Controls

As many as 84% of people surveyed use the same mobile device for both their personal and professional lives. This is one of the findings from a study on the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend by Coalfire, a US-based IT governance, risk and compliance services company. Yet many companies appear to have no policies in place to manage the use of personal devices at work - or at least, even if there are company internal policies governing social media and the use of mobile devices, more than 60% of the employees polled are totally unaware of them.

Rethinking IT and compliance

The current BYOD phenomenon makes it a must for IT directors both to rethink their processes in order to adapt to the changes brought about by the new technologies and also to discuss the issues with company employees. The personal device most used at work is the laptop computer (cited by 68% of those surveyed), followed by the smartphone (47%) and the tablet (20%). Nor is the BYOD trend likely to slow down anytime soon, given that it holds out many benefits for employees, such as work-practice flexibility and the convenience of using a familiar device with which you are fully conversant.

Inadequate protection

And while it might seem obvious that BYOD will help to reduce company expenditure, this can by no means be taken for granted. A recent study by Forrester Research suggests on the contrary that BYOD is likely to increase IT costs. In fact, these new ways of working create data security risks because the devices are not managed internally by the company itself and employees’ devices are all too often inadequately protected. Some 47% of the Coalfire survey respondents admitted that their mobile phones were not password-protected, while 36% said they used the same password for several different devices that are able to access company data such as emails and some business applications.