US research warns of blurred lines around device security and ownership as enterprises move further into post-PC era

29 August 2013

73% of US office workers using enterprise-owned tablets download personal software and apps, while 52% use personal laptops, tablets and smartphones to store and work on enterprise content

Organizations need to carefully consider how they address security and control in the post-PC era as 73% of US office workers using enterprise-issued tablets admit to downloading personal software and applications onto them. Almost two thirds (62%) do the same on company-issued smartphones and 45% on enterprise-issued laptops. The nationwide survey of 2,000 office workers carried out for Huddle by Ipsos MORI revealed the potential security risks resulting from increasingly blurred lines between personal and enterprise devices. While the majority of the 44% of US office workers using company-issued devices download personal software such as iTunes, Spotify and Dropbox, 52% admit to storing, sharing and working on work documents via their personal smartphones, tablets and laptops.

While 23% of office workers are aware of their organization’s Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy, the study reveals that personal devices are coexisting with enterprise-issued gadgets in the workplace rather than replacing them. According to the office workers surveyed:

  • 37% of workers store work documents on their personal laptop
  • 12% store enterprise documents on their smartphone
  • 8% store company documents on their personal tablets
  • 20% of workers want to use their personal devices for work purposes
  • 6% of office workers have lost either a laptop, smartphone, or tablet enterprise device.

With the countless devices and applications in today’s organizations eroding the concept of the corporate network and mobile working becoming more established, companies are presented with a security conundrum. As well as ensuring the safety of enterprise data when it leaves the company’s four walls, companies need to also mitigate the risk of employees inadvertently downloading viruses or other malware their phones, tablets and laptops.

“The meteoric rise of the cloud and mobile devices – whether personal or company property – in the workplace, along with people’s expectations that they should be able to work from any location, at any time, means it’s no longer possible to keep all corporate data on company premises,” explains Alastair Mitchell, CEO, Huddle. “The post-PC era is well and truly here. Organizations now need to consider how they stop company data walking out of the door with people and what measures need to be put in place to ensure teams can get their jobs done without compromising security. Providing teams with enterprise-grade apps that support collaboration on the move, as well as being simple to use, will help ensure they don’t start using consumer tools to provide easier ways to access the information they need. These apps should come with granular permission, encryption in transit and at rest, and remote wipe capabilities.”

According to the study, office workers in the 25 – 31 and 32 – 38 year old age groups are the worst offenders for downloading personal apps and software on company-issued devices:

  • 57% of 25 – 31 year olds and 55% of 32 – 38 year olds download personal apps and software onto enterprise laptops
  • 81% of 32 – 38 year olds and 70% of 25 – 31 year olds download personal apps and software onto enterprise smartphones
  • 82% of 32 – 38 year olds download personal apps and software onto enterprise tablets

When it comes to stashing enterprise content on personal laptops, tablets and smartphones, office workers aged 18 – 24 years old are the most likely culprits:

  • 51% keep work documents on personal laptops
  • 42% store work files on personal smartphones
  • 11% keep enterprise documents on personal tablets

“We’re now seeing millions of power workers using their personal devices alongside company-issued smartphones, laptops and tablets,” explains Jim Lundy, CEO and Lead Analyst, Aragon Research. “These employees have created their own workplace, using the most effective tools for the time, place and task to maximize their own productivity. With IT groups no longer identifying and provisioning the best technology for business, their challenge is to effectively manage the mixture of enterprise and personal devices and applications present in their organization. Personal productivity tools are rapidly advancing so businesses need to let workers maximize their own capabilities, while protecting enterprise data and systems. Enterprise-grade services, such as Huddle, which combine security with usability present organizations with the best of both worlds.”


Note to Editors: Note to Editors: Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 2,000 office workers aged 18-65 drawn from its Panel of 921,000 people in the USA via an online questionnaire between 2nd and 9th April 2013. Data are unweighted.