Many CIOs Make A Dangerous Assumption That No iPhones, iPads Are In Their Companies

Many CIOs Make A Dangerous Assumption That No iPhones, iPads Are In Their Companies

Are there iPhones or iPads in your company? Does your CIO know about them?

Are BYOD programs really all that common? According to a new report from staffing and recruiting firm Robert Half, the answer is that they aren’t. In fact, according to the report many CIOs and IT departments don’t allow employees to use personal devices. That runs contrary to a lot of other data that shows the iPhone, iPad, and other personal technologies are increasingly finding their ways into the office.

The immediate judgement might be to throw out this report or others because of the disconnect between them. That wouldn’t be a wise course of action, however. In fact, putting this report and another recent study that we covered last week side by side indicates that many CIOs may be dangerously unaware of what’s going on in their companies.

The Robert Half study, reported by Certification Magazine, focused on a single question.

Do you allow employees access to your corporate networks via personal laptops, smartphones or tablets?

The company posed that question to over 1,400 CIOs of companies with one 100 or more employees. One third (33%) said yes – personal devices are approved for some use and are allowed access to corporate networks and resources. The remaining two thirds (67%) said that personal devices weren’t allowed.

The problem with accepting this study at face value is what another recent survey by Juniper Networks discovered when employees – rather than CIOs – were asked whether they used personal iPhones, iPads, and other mobile devices for work.

That study found that 41% of knowledge workers were using their personal devices without permission from their employer or IT department.

The big point is that simply putting a policy in place against personal devices won’t keep them from marching into your company. Even if you make a concerted effort to keep them off your network, the owners of those devices will find a way to work around those efforts – possibly by doing something as simple as emailing files to their personal email accounts, which they can check using Mail on their iPhone or iPad and save for later review or editing. Going further, you may have multiple employees taking work files and putting them in a personal cloud to collaborate – completely outside of your control.

Even using a corporate network isn’t a necessity. In a city with LTE service, iPad-owning employees can bypass the corporate network and access the Internet from their desk at will – they may even get a faster connection.

All of this can, of course, lead to a dangerous false sense of security when it comes to business files and documents.

  • snarfblat

    As a developer, many of the companies I work for are strictly, “use our equipment and don’t you dare try to use your own.”  I have had the luxury a few times of being able to use my own Mac for work, and it’s been great.  But it’s a very rare occurrence.

    Ages ago when I was in IT, we were the red-headed stepchildren of the company.  We were told what WE could do by everybody else.  Now it’s come full circle and most IT departments are run by dictators that tell everybody else what they can and can’t do.  A few places I’ve tried to work for lock their systems down to such a degree that I can’t do my job — and they refuse to relax their grip.  One place I worked for last year had a firm policy of, “if you install Chrome, you will be fired,” and they blocked sites like SourceForge and StackOverflow.  I didn’t last long there.

About the author

Ryan FaasRyan Faas is a technology journalist and consultant living in upstate New York who has written extensively about Apple, business and enterprise IT, and the mobile industry. In addition to writing for Cult of Mac, he is a contributor to Computerworld, InformIT, and Peachpit Press. In a previous existence he was a healthcare IT director as well as a systems and network administrator. Follow Ryan on Twitter and Google +

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