It seems that everywhere you turn someone is talking or writing about the “consumerization of IT” or BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). This trend is real and one we all need to pay attention to. It is rapidly replacing the days of the IT department selecting and requiring the type of device the organization issues and supports.
Many firms are now allowing employees to purchase the smartphone or tablet of their choice and connect these devices to company data. There are certainly benefits and challenges to this trend (I plan to expand on these in an upcoming column). What I’d like to share today is some information I’ve seen, heard and gathered around this topic. My hope is that if you haven’t even considered the idea, you’ll at least start doing some research.
Boomer Consulting, Inc. recently conducted a mobile survey to gauge what firms were doing in this area and both the response rate and results were interesting. In the heart of tax season, we had over 430 busy professionals take the time to fill out the survey.
We found that 56% of the respondents said their firm had a written mobile device policy with 11% in progress and 33% having no such policy. When it came to a BYOD policy, only 32% responded in the affirmative, 7% in progress and 61% had nothing. However, when we asked about the firm purchasing the mobile devices, only 60% of the respondents said their firms paid for their phones and more than ½ footed the bill for their own tablet.
The final piece of the puzzle is that nearly 80% of those surveyed said they use their tablets for work and 96% used their phone for business.
What this tells me is employees are purchasing their own mobile devices already and connecting to the firm’s data for business purposes. Unfortunately, most firms are lagging behind in regards to having policies to address this growing trend. Developing a policy that adequately balances choice and ease of use with the security of the firm’s data is a challenge but it’s one that can be overcome with proper planning and should not be ignored.
While we have closed the initial survey and are currently working through the data to mine further insights, we would love to have further input. If you’d like to participate in the survey you can follow this link.
This is a hot topic right now and one that will continue to grow. It deserves your attention. I’ll be writing more about BYOD in an upcoming issue of CPA Practice Advisor but in the meantime, here are a couple articles you might want to check out to get started.