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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Canadian firms embracing BYOD, study finds

Category:   Enterprise Mobility

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The rise of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies around the world is one of the most significant technological and business strategy trends of recent years. By allowing employees to use their personal devices to access corporate files and perform work functions, companies can enjoy greater flexibility, productivity and employee satisfaction - so long as the proper security measures are followed.

While the rise of BYOD is a global phenomenon, it is not embraced equally by companies in every nation. On the contrary, several regions have demonstrated a much greater level of acceptance and enthusiasm for the policy and, as a recent study found, Canadian firms are among the world leaders in this capacity.

BYOD in Canada
The study, conducted by research firm Ovum and sponsored by Dimension Data, found that more than three-fourths of Canadian businesses now support BYOD policies, IT World Canada reported. Around the world, however, the adoption rate of such policies is only 46 percent, the study found.

Canadian businesses are also outpacing worldwide competitors when it comes to leveraging social media applications. Sixty percent of Canadian firms indicated they used these resources, compared to half of businesses globally.

"The survey indicates that Canadians, clearly, are employing a different approach when it comes to BYOD and social media," said Daryl Wilson, director of advanced solutions and enterprise services for Dimension Data, the news source reported. "They look at BYOD and social media not for cost savings but more to boost employee productivity and retain talent."

This last point is particularly noteworthy. As BYOD has increased in prominence, it has also become extremely popular among a wide swath of workers. Employees tend to greatly prefer using their own mobile devices, which they are familiar and comfortable with, over company-issued devices, which may not even feature the same operating system.

As more businesses adopt BYOD policies, workers are increasingly coming to expect that they will be allowed to follow suit. If, however, their organization does not support this policy, workers may become frustrated, hurting job satisfaction and, consequently, retention rates.

Security concerns
However, BYOD is not a cure-all, nor is it purely beneficial. While firms utilizing BYOD will likely enjoy numerous benefits, it is critical to acknowledge the security issues which surround the strategy. Without careful planning and use of adequate tools, BYOD plans may increase the risk of data loss or exposure for participating firms.

That is why companies interested in BYOD must take great pains to ensure that they follow data protection best practices. For example, firms should invest in sophisticated secure file sharing mobility tools that are both reliable and unobtrusive. By protecting the integrity of files as they are sent and received via employee mobile devices without requiring workers to go through a laborious process every time they use these channels, firms can ensure a high adoption rate, thereby avoiding the risk that employees will ignore security measures. This will help to keep the company's data safe while it takes advantage of BYOD's benefits.