An overwhelming 90 percent of employees used their personal smartphones for work-related purposes in the past year, but only 46 percent think their companies are prepared for Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) issues. That disconnect is one of the findings in a new report about the realities of BYOD.

The report, “BYOD Insights 2013: A Cisco Partner Network Study,” was commissioned by a network of Cisco partners and conducted by Cisco partner TekScape, a technology solution provider based in New York City.

Few Are Compensated For Using Their Devices

Employees are using their devices for answering work emails, interacting with work-related mobile and Web apps, and making work calls. Nearly 70 percent said they are expected to access email for work after business hours.

But, while most employees are using their smartphones for work, few are being compensated. Only 10 percent of BYOD workers receive any kind of stipend for using their smartphone. Of that 10 percent, about one-third received a stipend toward the cost, and about two-thirds had employers that bought the device outright.

Cisco report.png
From "BYOD Insights 2013"

There is a bit a difference between small and larger firms, the report found. Small companies have a greater expectation that workers will respond to emails after hours. Sixty-six percent of employees at companies with up to 25 staff members say they are expected to respond to emails after hours, while only 53 percent of those at firms with 500+ employees feel so obligated.

But, while 9.6 percent of BYODers at the larger firms had their smartphones purchased by their companies, only 2 percent of those at small businesses did. In both kinds of companies, 2 percent of BYODers received a stipend toward the cost of a smartphone.

By industry, teachers and others in education are the most likely to use their personal device for work, with slightly over 95 percent reporting that they do. Workers in the retail/wholesale industry are the least likely, with 77 percent.

Password Protection Issues

Companies that are not paying more attention to the personal devices being used for work are playing with a dangerous security risk. Thirty-nine percent of BYOD workers do not password protect their smartphones and 52 percent access unsecured Wi-Fi networks.

Sixty-six percent of those using iOS devices have password protection, while only 54 percent of Android users do, although Android is the more popular platform and has had more security issues with mobile apps.

Remote Wipe for Devices

Additionally, nearly half of BYODers have not disabled their devices’ Bluetooth discoverable modes. The report cites security firm Symantec, which has pointed out that, if a Bluetooth device is discoverable, “it is very easy to scan for it using a PC” and to download private data.

If their device were lost or stolen, 86 percent of BYODers say their companies are not able to remotely wipe their devices. Most of the devices are privately owned, but they are still likely to contain work-related data.

If the companies do not buy and maintain the devices outright, the best solution may be containerization that separates work data from personal data, such as is being offered by BlackBerry via its new management platform for its phones, as well as for iOS and Android phones. With such containerization, a company can erase just the work data if needed.

The report utilized a randomized, online sampling of 1000 responses from full time American workers.