IT, security can't keep up as consumer device use grows

'Consumerization gap' appears to be widening as more organizations realize the trend is unstoppable and inevitable, study finds

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Unisys said this increasing penetration of consumer technology in the enterprise is being driven by a desire for mobility. Fifty-three percent of workers surveyed said mobile devices such as laptops, smartphones and tablets are their most critical devices for doing work, up from 44 percent in 2010. That rate is expected to rise in 2012 with 65 percent noting that a mobile device will be their most critical work device next year.

IT not ready, aware of how far-reaching consumer tech is now

While IT executives recognize the consumerization trend, and many believe allowing the use of personal devices raises employee morale, they are falling behind in their efforts to both support the devices and effectively manage security concerns around them, according to the research.

The survey found workers report using smart mobile devices for business purposes at twice the rate that IT executives believe to be the case, with 69 percent usage reported by employees vs. 34 percent of IT executives stating workers used these devices for work.

The scenario was the same for social media access: 44 percent of employees noted they use social networks and communities for customer communication. Yet only 28 percent of employers thought that was the case.

"IT departments also seem to be falling further behind in terms of readying their organizations to serve new generations of mobile, tech-savvy consumers," the report summary states. "Only 6 percent of IT decision-makers surveyed report that their organization has modernized customer-facing applications to work with mobile devices, and 89 percent report that they have no plans to do so over the next year."

When asked what are the greatest barriers to enabling employees to use personal devices at work, 83 percent of IT respondents cited "security concerns" and 56 percent said "viruses from social networks such as Facebook."

"Ironically, however, IT respondents indicate that they now do less than they did in 2010 to secure mobile devices in several areas, including publication of social media guidelines," according to Unisys officials, noting fewer organizations were now requiring employee training, usage of complex passwords in order to mitigate risk.

This story, "IT, security can't keep up as consumer device use grows" was originally published by CSO.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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