European-wide mobile usage research released today has cast light over the worrying disconnect between IT priorities and the reality of mobile user habits, bringing with it serious security implications. The report from Accellion, Inc., the pioneer in providing enterprise-class, secure mobile productivity solutions, found 73 per cent of UK businesses admit to having no formal BYOD (bring-your-own-device) corporate policy and support structure.
Despite business users requesting basic secure mobile functions, these requests are low on the list of IT priorities, leading users to seek their own ‘unregulated’ solutions.
“Despite months of headlines related to the NSA PRISM program, businesses are operating a laissez faire approach to the security of their data in the cloud,” said Paul Steiner, Managing Director, Europe, Middle East & Africa at Accellion. “Dealing with the whirlwind pace of mobile innovation is not just a security challenge for IT, it demands board-level scrutiny. Employees are now savvy enough technologically to seek out their own solutions, but then businesses must deal with the fallout when these solutions cause security breaches.”
UK users list the ability to share and access files while on the move in their top three demands of mobile working. As such, it's no wonder they are turning to unrestricted consumer apps, as only 53 per cent of companies currently offer this functionality on work devices. Other issues revealed in the research include:
- One-third of companies surveyed currently fail to provide an approved secure file sharing service to employees
- One-quarter permit users to find and use their own tools
- 22 per cent of UK businesses actually encourage users to use ad-hoc solutions such as Dropbox despite the known security risks
- 40 per cent of UK companies allow mobile users to use public cloud services, although 26 per cent allow use for only non-sensitive documents
Across the rest of Europe, IT is even further behind, with 75 per cent of European companies using consumer grade file-sharing tools for work, as opposed to 46 per cent in the UK.
The UK is also leading the way in mobile deployment across Europe, with more mobile devices deployed per organisation and more support for employee-owned devices. In the UK, 17 per cent of workers have three or more mobile devices for work use. Only 22 per cent of UK businesses do not support mobile devices, compared to 35 per cent of European companies.
Employees, keen to embrace mobile working, are driving this trend, which is increasing worker productivity:
- 50 per cent of employees in Europe are working an extra two hours a day on mobile devices
- And 13 per cent of employees in the UK are working four or more hours a day
However, it appears this extra time is not being used effectively, as:
- 35 per cent of UK IT departments do not support mobile creation and editing of documents
- 45 per cent offer no collaboration tools for on the move employees who prefer mobile devices
Finally, the survey found that 59 per cent of business users would be influenced in future job decisions by whether or not the employer provides mobile business tools. As these demands rise for flexible mobile working solutions, IT is set for an even greater challenge – to support a digitally flexible and mobile organisation.