IT managers start supporting employee-owned smartphones

Still, about a third of companies frown on using personal smartphones for work tasks, Forrester finds

Despite the increasing use of smartphones at work, more than one-third of companies still don't provide any support for personal phones or outright prohibit their use at the office.

That was a finding by Forrester Research in a recent survey of 1051 IT managers in North America and Europe. The data found that while 26% of the companies don't provide support for personal mobile phones and smartphones, another 10% prohibited use of personal devices, for a total of 36 per cent.

At the same time, about 16 per cent of the IT managers surveyed said their companies support all kinds of personal devices, while 14 per cent support only certain types and models.

Some companies have developed long sets of policies for when and how to support personal devices used by workers. The most progressive companies are investing in mobile device management software, available from many vendors, to track employee devices and the applications used on them. This software also has the ability to wipe sensitive data off a lost device.

Forrester said in a new research note that increasing numbers of employee-owned devices and questions of supporting them are "crippling" existing mobile strategies. The effect has led companies to rethink their strategies and to begin supporting both company-owned devices and those owned by employees.

Forrester said that nearly 600 of its clients asked for advice in the last six months, including ways to support employee-owned devices. The research firm gleaned some lessons from early adopters of mobile device management in a set of extensive interviews.

Among the tips they received was that IT managers should create a single mobile policy for both corporate and employee-owned devices. Many firms have either no policy or practices that apply only to corporate-owned devices.

Because Apple's iPhones and iPads and devices running the Android operating system are most preferred by employees, Forrester said progressive IT managers are starting to support both platforms and work around some of their security limitations.

Forrester found that IT managers will deliver only basic services, such as email, contacts and calendar, to Android and Apple's iOS devices because of security concerns. However, the companies plan to allow more functionality as the OSes and the mobile device management software matures. More functionality could include access to corporate apps used for inventory control, for example.

Regarding support for personally owned devices, Forrester said MDM software can help protect a company should it need to wipe data from an employee's phone. But users first need to be aware of the possibility that their data could be wiped from their device. Forrester found that some companies compromise by providing some support of employee-owned devices but then don't allow them to use the devices to connect to company networks.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

Read more about smartphones in Computerworld's Smartphones Topic Center.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags hardwareconsumer electronicsMobile and WirelessMobile Apps and Servicessmartphoneshardware systemsForrester Research

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Matt Hamblen

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?