By Joe Rizzo
, TMCnet Contributing Writer
It wasn’t too long ago when no one knew what BYOD stood for. Today we know that it refers to bring your own device to work. It also wasn’t too long ago when a lot of employees carried two smartphones with them. One was your personal device and the other was a company issued device used solely for business purposes.
For all intents and purposes, those days are gone. There are still issues as to how smartphones and tablets should be used and in all honesty, there always will be. However, companies in the U.S. have learned to accept that this is a way of life.
Toward that end, companies have slowly been working on developing new corporate policies, instituting new security measures and software, all designed to allow their employees to work with BYOD. These devices are being incorporated as part of the workforce.
This is something that does not resonate everywhere in the world. Altodigital is a 35-year-old company that is one of the largest, independent suppliers of digital print and document solutions in the U.K. That brings us to how the U.K. is dealing with BYOD.
It would seem that very little of the U.K. is actually dealing with BYOD. There were several global surveys taken over the summer last year to get a better understanding of how companies were considering BYOD. Most of the results were the same when these surveys were taken in the U.K.
All of the companies knew that BYOD was not a passing fad; however, none of the companies actually knew how to deal with it. The biggest concern was almost always security. That meant that new policies had to be created, along with a new way of how data was shared between employers and employees.
Altodigital recently conducted a survey of more than 1,000 decision-makers spanning a number of U.K businesses. The goal was to get a better understanding of emerging document and print trends. What the results of this survey show is that a majority of U.K. businesses lack any kind of BYOD strategy.
As a result of not having any policy or even a strategy as to how to handle BYOD, there is also no mobile print strategy in place. The figures show that 63 percent of corporations in the U.K. do not have any specific IT strategy. There are no guidelines as to how BYOD will be handled in the workplace.
What is surprising is that 57 percent of the same people interviewed have admitted to the fact that employees are bringing their own devices to work. In turn, this lack of a strategy has 40 percent of the respondents admitting that they have already faced IT problems.
Not surprising is that these problems are predominantly security issues. The numbers come in at 71 percent of the problems being related to security breaches or viruses. A further breakdown shows that 48 percent involved network connectivity problems and 23 percent concerned email problems or Internet access.
Tony Burnett, who is group sales director at Altodigital, said “BYOD is not a new trend, and as the research shows, it is enjoying widespread adoption among businesses of all kinds. However, despite this, it’s staggering that so few companies have a dedicated policy in place to appropriately cope with this, especially given the very real IT and security issues that can be caused as a result.”
One of the things that promote the use of BYOD is that employees tend to accomplish more work. They can use the apps that they are more familiar and comfortable with, which relates to more work in less time.
One area that has been pegged as being beneficial for BYOD is mobile printing. Unfortunately, the flip side of the coin is that mobile printing also has the potential of being the most damaging thing to get wrong. According to Altodigital, 20 percent of companies are already using mobile printing with at least 50 percent planning to do so.
The problem is that 26 percent of the companies that are currently doing so are using unproven and untested mobile software. This is where we see the importance of having a strategy and policies in place.
Burnett added, “We don’t want people to be put off from embracing BYOD, and applications such as mobile printing can present enormous benefits to a business. Securely managing the process does not need to be overly complicated, and we expect to see IT departments increasingly integrating secure mobile print applications as part of their broader BYOD strategy in 2014.”
Edited by Rory J. Thompson