Privacy concerns are inhibiting employee uptake of BYOD

Employees’ use of personal digital devices at work has led to concerns regarding the encroachment of work into leisure time; but the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) craze also poses a challenge for staff who are reluctant to expose their private data to the corporate gaze. According to a survey conducted by Ovum on behalf of AdaptiveMobile, keeping their privacy from employers is the top concern for employees being asked to use their own devices for work purposes. The research found that while over 84 per cent of employees rated privacy as a top three concern, there was a clear lack of trust in the ability of their employer to manage their mobile security and privacy. Among employees who do not use their own devices for work purposes, the desire to keep their work and personal life separate (44%) and a general mistrust of their employer having any kind of control over their devices (24%) were the biggest barriers.

For those employees already using their own device for work purposes, trust in their employer managing their device was the major concern. While just 30 per cent of respondents preferred their employer to manage their corporate mobility service, trust levels in their mobile operator were higher with 42 per cent of people happier if their device at work was managed by their operator.
“Trust is the magic word when it comes to empowering employees to use their own devices in the workplace. The mobile device is such an inherently personal part of our lives that people want to know that their details are safe:” said Ciaran Bradley, Chief Product Officer, AdaptiveMobile.
Closely linked to end user privacy, the survey of over 5,000 employees from 19 countries worldwide also uncovered that the security of end users’ data is central to the uptake of corporate mobility services. Respondents noted that in addition to privacy, the next two most important aspects of a corporate service allowing them to use their own devices at work were avoiding malicious websites (67.2%) and avoiding malicious apps (57.2%).

“Particularly for the underserved but significant SME market that find current mobile security offerings too complex to deploy, too expensive to integrate and too time-consuming to manage, these issues can be addressed by a comprehensive security-as-a-service offering, that is easy to implement and use,” said Ciaran Bradley.

Part of Ovum’s latest Employee Mobility Survey, the research revealed the rate of BYOD behaviour (defined as employees accessing corporate data on a personally owned smartphone or tablet – whether their employer knows about it or allows it or not) is up from 56.8 per cent in 2013 to 69.2 per cent in 2014. The research was in-line with previous years, demonstrating that high-growth markets exhibit the highest rates of BYOD with China, India and South Korea close to 100 per cent.
“It’s clear that BYOD is not a newly discussed phenomenon, but our research over the last three years indicates that as a behavioural trend it is actually increasing and having an impact in every organisation”, said Richard Absalom, Senior Analyst, Enterprise Mobility at Ovum.

“Businesses everywhere need to find ways of balancing corporate security demands with employees’ privacy concerns when using personal devices for work.”