Do you use mobile devices in the workplace? Two-thirds of businesses today encourage employees to use their own devices for communication or collaboration in the workplace, according to an infographic shared exclusively by cloud services provider Egnyte with The Droid Guy. Mobile devices like smartphones and tablets have increasingly penetrated into the workplace, but the dynamic of choosing which particular platform has changed over the years. While IT departments used to have a big say in the decision-making process, today bring your own device (BYOD) setups prevail.
Remember how BlackBerry ruled in the business setting just five years ago? Now, business users have a wider choice of devices or platforms, at least. Take for instance internet giant Yahoo, which now gives users a choice of iPhone, Android or or Windows Phone devices — anything but BlackBerry, actually!
BYOD encourages employees to either acquire their own choice of device and simply connect with the applications and security protocols that a company requires. As cloud-based services like Google for Enterprise, Google Drive and Microsoft Office 365 become popular tools for productivity, workers can quickly shift to a work-anywhere setting, where work can be done both at their office desk and remotely (at home or at a cafe, for instance).
However, there is a concern with regard to standardization and security protocols, according to research. While a majority of companies encourage BYOD, not all have established safeguards and policies that ensure the security and integrity of data. Therefore, proprietary information, like financial data, intellectual property and the like, can be vulnerable if an employee loses his or her device, or if the transmission channels are not secure enough.
The benefits of BYOD outweigh the risks, especially with readily-available enterprise-grade security services available for businesses to use. Cloud services save businesses $2 billion annually, after all. What’s important is for employees to actually use services that are secure enough to protect sensitive information. Surprisingly, even as only 15 percent of businesses approve consumer-grade cloud services, a majority of employees still use these to communicate and exchange information and data.
Android playing catch-up
Interestingly, while Android smartphones account for almost 80 percent of devices worldwide, the platform is still playing a catch-up game to iOS in terms of enterprise usage. As of 2012, iOS devices were 2.4 times as common in the business setting, at least for exchanging files and data. The big concern here seems to lie in the fragmentation issue that Android devices still suffer from. Because iOS offers a more or less homogenized environment for application developers and IT departments to work with, it is easier to control, in terms of security and privacy protocols.
Android, however, has started making leaps and bounds when it comes to enterprise-grade security. Take the Samsung SAFE and KNOX initiatives, for example, which offer application security, platform security and centralized device management. In a recent Frost & Sullivan survey, Android overtaking iOS seems to be plausible, depending on how successful enterprise-oriented programs are. “41 percent of organisations expect iOS to remain the dominant platform in the next 12 to 18 months. On the other hand, 32 percent of organisations expect the growing popularity of Android OS will make it the preferred platform in the next 12 to 18 months.”
Infographic credit: Bring your own device / Egnyte