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The BYOD Trend: A Blessing or a Curse?

When it comes to allowing employees to use their own personal devices at work, everyone is doing it, or so it seems. A recent Cisco-sponsored survey of 600 IT and business leaders found that 95 percent of respondents allow employee-owned devices on the corporate network, citing increased productivity and employee job satisfaction as the primary drivers.

While employees may be grinning a bit more as a result of being able to use their iPhones for both work and play, IT administrators aren’t exactly smiling. The survey went on to disclose that 69 percent of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) users were accessing unapproved applications on these devices, a reality that is causing organizations to carefully weigh BYOD risks versus rewards.

One company that’s taking new BYOD precautions is IBM, banning the use of Dropbox, iCloud, and Siri on employees’ iPhones. IBM’s CIO, Jeanette Horan, told MIT Technology Review that the trend toward employee-owned devices has created new challenges for her IT department because “employees’ devices are full of software that IBM doesn’t control.” It’s that lack of “control” that’s causing many organizations to question the security of public cloud services – and rightly so.

When IBM, with an IT powerhouse of 5,000 staff members, takes a stand against select cloud services, people take notice. We’ll look for other organizations to follow suit, taking a close look at what cloud providers are actually doing with their confidential data and establishing BYOD policies that maintain close control of what services are actually being used by employees and when.

So, kudos to you, Jeanette Horan, for leading the way with new BYOD security practices. You are the Accellion CIO hero of the week.

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