ReadWrite Survey Results: What A Typical BYOD Program Really Looks Like

BYOD - Bring Your Own Device - is one of the hottest trends in IT right now. The idea is to let employees use their own preferred smartphones, tablets and/or laptops, and have the company's technology department allow them to connect to company networks and applications, as well as make sure they're secure and supported.

But what are companies really doing about BYOD?

To find out, ReadWrite ran a survey of our readers. (See Is Bring Your Own Device - BYOD - Changing Your Company?)

The survey attracted 261 responses, and 176 completed every question. While this is far from a scientific or statistically valid study, the results do offer some intriguing data points as to how BYOD is being used.

The results painted a remarkably clear picture of how and why companies are using BYOD:

1. BYOD Is Popular Among Companies. Half (49%) of the companies responding let all employees use personal devices for work purposes. Another 33% let some employees do so. Only 18% don't support BYOD. Of course, this was a BYOD survey, so it's no surprise that this group was interested. But the percentages were higher than I'd expected.

2. BYOD Is Less Popular Among Employees. At 44% of companies, fewer than 25% of employees participate in the BYOD program. A quarter to one half of employees BYOD in 27% of companies. More than 50% participate in a fifth of the BYOD companies, and the policy is mandatory for everyone at 10% of companies.

3. BYOD Isn't New. Surprisingly, 41% of the BYOD companies began their programs more than two years agao. Another 22% started more than a year ago. Despite the hype heating up, only 12% have moved to BYOD in the last 3 months.

4. BYOD Has Widespread Benefits. Asked what the prime justification for BYOD, respondents were fairly evenly split among Employee Satisfaction (29%), Employee Productivity (29%) and Saving Money for the Company (23%). The rest didn't know or weren't sure.

5. Paying For BYOD Is Up To The Employees. Companies pay for the BYOD devices at less than 10% of the companies responding. Workers and the company share costs at another quarter (27%) of responding organizations. Only 10% of companies buy the devices for their employees.

6. Employees Who BYOD Are On Their Own For Support. Support is one of BYOD's big issues, but most companies (56%) simply leave it up to employees. Another third (31%) supply internal IT support, while just 6% employ outsourced support for employee-owned devices.

7. BYOD Is All About Smartphones. At the vast majority of BYOD companies (82%), smartphones are the most popular employee-owned devices. Tablets are often BYOD at half of the companies, while laptops get the BYOD treatment at about a third of companies (33%).

8. Security Is The Biggest BYOD Concern. This one wasn't a surprise. Almost half (49%) named security as the biggest BYOD issue - and another 5% worried about lost or stolen devices. Management and support were the top issues for 16% of respondents, while performance problems troubled 7%. Not surprisingly based on Number 5 above, cost was a concern for less than 5% of companies.

9. Ensuring BYOD Security Is A Multi-Dimensional Job. Usage of various security measures were all over the map, with multiple responses showing that many comapnies were using more than one approach. Top security tactics included limiting device access to networks (38%), requiring employees to lock screens (37%) and VPNs and virtual desktops (31%). Security software (24%), enforced updates (24%) and mobile application management software (21%) were also widely used. There was less enthusiasm for making employees report issues quickly (17%), restricting downloads (11%) and building a internal app store (7%). In a victory for employee privacy, only 6% of respondents said they installed location tracking software on employee devices.

What does it all add up to? BYOD isn't some Johnny-come-lately concept being pushed on reluctant IT departments by gadget-loving workers. Instead, it seems more like a viable business strategy for letting workers have access to the right tools without having to spend a fortune.

There are plenty of concerns, but overall, BYOD participants seem pretty happy about how things are going.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.