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IT, security can't keep up as consumer device use grows

Joan Goodchild | July 12, 2011
'Consumerization gap' appears to be widening as more organizations realize the trend is unstoppable and inevitable, study finds.

IT and security managers are slowly embracing the growing number of consumer devices, such as iPhones and iPads, that are being used by workers within their organizations, but many enterprises are still overwhelmed by the need to mitigate risk and support the devices.

That is the finding of new research released Tuesday by Unisys Corporation. The study was conducted for Unisys by IDC.

While similar research last year found enterprise IT departments were unprepared for the rapidly growing usage of consumer technologies in the workplace, according to the updated survey findings the "consumerization gap" appears to be widening as more organizations realize the trend is unstoppable and inevitable.

But awareness doesn't equal readiness, according to the study. While IT departments see business value in allowing mobile workers to use personal devices and access social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, they are "hamstrung by security and support issues and a growing workload," a report summary states.

"The good news from the new research is that, in contrast to last year, IT executives are recognizing that the consumerization of IT trend is real and inevitable," said Fred Dillman, Unisys chief technology officer. "However, they appear to be frozen by the magnitude of issues created by the rapidly growing usage of consumer technologies within the enterprise."

The study draws upon two separate but related surveys conducted in nine countries. One study surveyed nearly 2,660 information workers within organizations, while the second study polled some 560 IT department executives and managers. The surveys were conducted in nine countries worldwide.

Results find workers are bringing personal devices into the enterprise at an increasing rate, with 40 percent of the devices used to access business applications being personally owned; a 10-percentage-point increase from last year. Use of social media applications, blogging, and microblogging in the enterprise also increased.

This year 20 percent of organizations surveyed used Facebook and MySpace for business purposes, while just 8 percent said they used the site for business in 2010.

Unisys said this increasing penetration of consumer technology in the enterprise is being driven by a desire for mobility. Fifty-three percent of workers surveyed said mobile devices such as laptops, smartphones and tablets are their most critical devices for doing work, up from 44 percent in 2010. That rate is expected to rise in 2012 with 65 percent noting that a mobile device will be their most critical work device next year.

IT not ready, aware of how far-reaching consumer tech is now


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