Exploring the current state of BYOD

Mar 25, 2016

Mobile Security Fingerprint.jpgMobile devices from smartphones to tablets have not only become a pivotal part of everyday lives, they have also taken on the role of an asset in many workplaces, enabling people to get more done than ever before. In an attempt to adapt to this trend, organizations have instituted bring-your-own-device policies that detail how hardware and information on that hardware should be governed.

However many challenges remain for maintaining BYOD practices and ensuring that sensitive business data is secure. Let's take a look at the current state of BYOD and the risks associated with it.

BYOD market set to explode

As more organizations encourage the use of mobile devices, tools are being designed to manage this hardware in a business setting and ensure that protection capabilities are in place. The growth of BYOD in companies can easily be seen in the expected market rise over the next six years. According to Global Market Insights, the BYOD market is predicted to reach over $366 billion by 2022, which is a major increase compared to its nearly $94 billion valuation in 2014. Small businesses in particular are expected to see a significant uptick in BYOD adoption, which is forecast to grow at an annual rate of 19.7 percent until 2022 in this sector. The lower hardware costs is a main driver for BYOD in the workplace, and many organizations are looking to capitalize on other advantages the trend can bring.

Security still a concern

Despite all of the advancements that have been made with BYOD management tools and mobile device protection, security is still a point of contention in BYOD environments. A survey by Wrike found that 63 percent of respondents used four apps during their work day, while 37 percent leveraged as many as five applications. Imagine if the business didn't approve of one of these programs, but employees decided to use them anyway for the sake of familiarity and convenience. The possibilities of shadow IT in a BYOD environment remain high, and it's a daily challenge for IT teams to control the spread of company information through these channels.

To make matters worse, there are still no set standards for BYOD management which can leave many with gaping vulnerabilities. However, organizations still want to provide the flexibility that mobile devices and their associated applications can bring. Striking this balance is significantly difficult, but can be facilitated with strong mobile protection tools and secure file sharing practices.

"It's all about risk management, so it really should come down to economics and probability," Lookout vice president Bharath Rangarajan told IT World Canada. "Companies need to ensure that they have protected themselves, to the appropriate levels, against the most likely and most costly breaches."

BYOD has changed how businesses operate and are continuing to shape what is expected of employees. Although data protection is still a major pain point, advancing mobile management tools can help secure business information while allowing workers to use their devices.