BYOD on the Decline?

BYOD costFor the last few years people have been pumping up Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs as the best solution for employees and businesses alike. However, those same people weren’t always quick to acknowledge the well-documented issues often surrounding it.

It appears the tide may be turning. The results of a 2015 CompTIA Information Technology Association survey of American IT professionals show over half work at companies that have banned BYOD.

In total, 53 percent of the 375 respondents said their company does not allow the use of personal devices in the workplace, a significant increase from 34 percent just two years before. Contrast that with the just seven percent whose companies allow full BYOD. Forty percent reported working in a partial-BYOD environment, where some devices were provided by the employer but personal devices were still permitted on the network. That’s a significant drop from the 2013 survey, when 58 percent identified their workplace as partially BYOD.

“Companies are finding that they can pursue mobility initiatives just as well by providing mobile devices, and employees are often happy enough to take a corporate device if it is the same thing they would choose on their own,” states the CompTIA report.

“A small percentage of companies—mostly small firms—elect to completely avoid device distribution. This can reduce the overhead required for device support, but it also raises issues for security and productivity. Many firms are clearly choosing to solve those issues by avoiding BYOD.”

But a ban on personal devices doesn’t solve all problems, the report warns. Strong-willed employees determined to use their own devices will try to find ways to do so, making it important for companies to ensure they are monitoring for any unauthorized usage.

Though CompTIA’s survey shows a shift, another undertaken this year by Tyntec – a European company that offers BYOD program support – shows it continues to rise. Their poll of over 1,300 workers found just over 60 percent reported using their own device for work. But what is really startling is the majority of all respondents whose companies are full BYOD said there is no formal mobile-use policy in place: 66 percent of workplaces in America don’t have one, 75 percent in Spain go without and a whopping 82 percent in the United Kingdom have yet to draft and implement a policy.

If we had to wager a bet, we’d say many of those companies aren’t doing anything to manage their employees’ personal devices at all, a risky move when it comes to corporate security. And those that are have discovered it’s not as cheap as they may initially think. An Aberdeen study from 2012 still holds true: savings between a corporate-liable and BYOD device is often mitigated by the cost to process expense reports and offer multi-device support. In fact, it costs six times more to manage than if companies just purchased and handed out phones.

One trend that continues – and perhaps has the most staying power – is the COPE method (corporate-owned, personally enabled) or the Choose Your Own Device (CYOD) phenomenon, where employers are pre-selecting a variety of devices under a corporate liability model and allowing their workers final say on which one they’d like to use.

Sometimes the happy medium is the best one of all.