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Companies 'cannot afford' to ignore BYOD

Organisations need to embrace improved productivity granted by BYOD, says Gartner analyst

Companies 'cannot afford' to ignore BYOD
Gartner sees many organisations in the Gulf implementing BYOD

Most organisations cannot afford to ignore the bring-your-own-device (BYOD), as it promotes improved productivity and engagement, according to Leif-Olof Wallin, research vice president at Gartner.

Leaving aside defence, government or heavily regulated industries, Wallin explained that BYOD was not only about saving on costs, but also creating a more productive workforce - advantages that most organisations need to wholeheartedly embrace.

Indeed, Wallin said that Gartner saw many organisations in the Gulf implementing BYOD, some at more executive levels than other.

Sometimes the IT Organization decides to just shut their eyes and the BYOD activities happen under the radar," he told ITP.net.

"Sometimes it is a conscious decision where mobile email is compared to providing access to email via Outlook Web Access (OWA) and there is no perceived difference from a security perspective."

That said, Wallin conceded that security worries could be well-founded, particularly with users operating on the Android platform. He explained that, to support BYOD on Android, companies would probably need to invest in additional technologies to isolate the corporate information from the consumer part of the device.

"This usually means forcing users to use a special, non-native email client on Android," he said.

"A lot of clients are reluctant to support BYOD on Android, and if they do, usually limit the support to a few models that have better protection and offer enhanced APIs that can be leveraged by a mobile device management solution."

However, Wallin said that, over time, organisations will eventually understand that protecting the underlying device is simply not feasible, and so they will move to ensuring that the applications can be self-defending.

An Arabian Computer News IT Security Behaviour Survey last month revealed that a mere 16% of GCC organisations have coherent and flexible BYOD policies. The survey also showed that 30% of companies had no rules in place to govern company data on devices.

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