Survey: Users willing to follow BYOD security policies

Many users will circumvent IT policy to use a personal device at work. But often that’s because their organization doesn’t yet have a BYOD policy. 

Many organizations have implemented BYOD programs to increase worker mobility and keep costs down.  The federal government is no different — many agencies have started allowing workers to use personal smartphones, tablets and laptops.

To protect sensitive data when federal workers go mobile using their own personal devices, the White House last year released a set of guidelines for agencies when developing BYOD policies. The guidance encouraged agency IT departments to use virtualization to give users access to data and applications without storing them on a device and keep personal and government data separate on those devices.

That’s certainly a good plan that private organizations could follow to help keep data safe. The bad news: Many agencies have yet to formally plan for BYOD, according to a recent survey conducted by the Telework Exchange.

BYOD policies still rare

Among the 314 federal employees surveyed, 49% said they use a personal device for work-related tasks. Most often, that means a personal laptop (used by 93% of those respondents), followed by smartphones (64%) and tablets (19%).

However, more often than not, those users are taking matters into their own hands rather than participating in an officially sanctioned program — just 11% of respondents said their agency has an official BYOD policy.

And regardless of what many IT pros may believe, that rogue BYOD use doesn’t seem to stem from users’ unwillingness to stay secure or follow a policy. In fact, 57% of those surveyed said they’d even be willing to pay to have their personal device certified as secure or to upgrade its security features.

What it means for IT: Users will bring in their own devices whether IT says it’s okay or not. That’s why it’s important to have a policy, as well as the controls in place to make sure unapproved devices aren’t accessing data or applications.

As this survey shows, users will be willing to cooperate with IT if it means getting to use their personal smartphone or tablet for work.