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June 25, 2012

Gen-Y BYOD employees pose serious security challenges to corporate IT systems: survey

Security is widely given low consideration by Gen-Y employees using their own devices

By CBR Staff Writer

A survey by Frontinet has found that first generation BYOD employees pose serious security challenges to corporate IT systems, with more than 36% of the Gen-Y employees have admitted or would contravene a company’s security policy that does not allow them to use their personal devices at work.

The survey polled responses in 15 countries and the figure is highest in India where 66% admitted they have or would contravene policy.

Fortinet surveyed over 3,800 active employees in their twenties about their perspectives on BYOD, its impact on their work environment and their approach to personal and corporate IT security.

The survey underlines the extent of the challenge posed to corporate IT systems by first generation Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) users, defined as people entering the workplace with an expectation to use their own devices.

The research firm suggests that the findings denote the urgency with which enterprises should develop security strategies to secure and manage BYOD activity.

Survey results revealed the primary driver of the BYOD practice from a user perspective is that individuals can constantly access their preferred applications, especially social media and private communications.

Nearly 74% of respondents across all territories already regularly engage in the practice, including 64% of respondents in the UAE.

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More importantly, 55% of total respondents and 56% in the UAE consider using their device at work as a ‘right’ rather than a ‘privilege.’

Fortinet Middle East regional director Bashar Bashaireh said while users want and expect to use their own devices for work, mostly for personal convenience, they do not want to hand over responsibility for security on their own devices to the organisation.

"Within such an environment, organisations must regain control of their IT infrastructure by strongly securing both inbound and outbound access to the corporate network and not just implement mobile device management or "MDM"," he added.

"Organizations cannot rely on a single technology to address the security challenges of BYOD. The most effective network security strategy requires granular control over users and applications, not just devices."

About 42% believe potential data loss and exposure to malicious IT threats to be the dominant risk, indicating the first generation of BYOD workers understand the risks BYOD poses to their organisations.

Regarding the policies banning the use of non-approved applications, 69% confirmed they are interested in Bring Your Own Application (BYOA) where users create and use their own custom applications at work.

The survey also indicated at the resistance organisations encounter when implementing security on an employee’s device as 66% of respondents consider themselves, not the company, to be responsible for security of the personal devices they use while 22% believe responsibility ultimately rests with their employer.

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