The State of BYOD in 2017: Concerns, Benefits and Conclusions

  • May 9, 2017
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If your company is like most today, you concede that the practice of employees using personal devices to perform enterprise work tasks (BYOD) is widespread and growing quickly. It’s an easy conclusion to reach, given that there will be 12.1 billion mobile devices in service globally next year.

What isn’t so easy for companies is deciding what to do: adopt and try to enforce a BYOD policy, hoping you don’t anger users and choke off their productivity. Or take the “why bother” approach and let the chips of security, device management and interoperability fall where they may. The decision, of course, will come down to conclusions that execs and IT leaders draw about possible risks and rewards.

First, the Risks

The most obvious concern is enterprise security. All 1,000 respondents in one recent Gartner US workplace study admitted to using private devices for work. One quarter of those surveyed reported having security problems with their device. However, only a small percentage reported the issues to superiors.

Many companies require the use of personal devices at work, as may half of all companies, very soon, according to researchers. The problem? Control. Or rather a lack of it. Nearly 60 percent of Gartner interviewees who use personal devices at work have no formal BYOD agreement or policy by which they are bound–begging the question: what exactly are the security standards and expectations in a work environment that has no guidelines?

Risky Mobile Apps

Gartner cautions that most apps employees download and use to access assets or perform business functions on the enterprise can put data and privacy at risk. Analysts like Dionisio Zumerle, principal research analyst at Gartner, warns that up to 75 percent of mobile apps will fail basic security tests.

“Enterprises that embrace mobile computing and BYOD strategies are vulnerable to security breaches unless they adopt methods and technologies for mobile application security testing and risk assurance, says Zumerle.


Today, annual mobile malware attacks number in the millions. Nearly 40 percent of the 800 cybersecurity pros surveyed in Crowd Research Partner’s 2016 BYOD & Mobile Security Report admitted to finding downloaded malware on at least one enterprise-connected BYO device.

The (Potential) Benefits

“The benefits of BYOD include creating new mobile workforce opportunities, increasing employee satisfaction, and reducing or avoiding costs,” notes David Willis, vice president and distinguished analyst at Garter. Recent research seems to bear out Willis’s claims. Respondents in a Crowd Research Partner survey of 800 cybersecurity professionals (percentages below) said they viewed the following as drivers and benefits of adopting BYOD in their organizations:

  • Improved employee mobility: 61 percent
  • Greater employee satisfaction: 56 percent
  • Increased employee productivity: 55 percent

Surprisingly, cost savings–which can be easily realized when businesses purchase and manage fewer employee devices–ranked below all of these in the study, with less than half (47 percent) of those interviewed seeing savings as a primary benefit.


Beyond 2017, enterprise mobility will only increase, which means BYOD is here to stay or as one analyst observes, the practice is “an evolving and unstoppable trend,” adding that limiting mobile usage is futile and policing it is resource-intensive.

Still, for companies that adopt (and effectively manage) sound BYOD policies, the returns of greater employee satisfaction, mobility and productivity could be well within reach. Even more so when an IT Managed Services Provider (IT MSP) is called upon to help fill in any strategy, staffing and cybersecurity gaps that may arise.

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