IT Administrators Say Security Concerns for Mobile Devices Are Slowing Enterprise Adoption
Enterprise Device Alliance survey learns that enterprise IT expects increased management challenges as acceptance of mobile devices soars
November 30, 2011— A survey conducted by the Enterprise Device Alliance (EDA) revealed that IT administrators believe that the challenge of securing mobile devices is the largest impediment to acceptance by enterprises. 54% of the respondents replied that preventing access to sensitive data from unauthorized users is the top concern slowing adoption smartphones and tablets for enterprises. 59% of the IT professionals said that another source of concern is the security risk should the devices be stolen or lost. Despite these concerns, more than 90% reported that tablets are being tested in pilot or production deployments at their organizations. Though the respondents indicated that only 6% of the employees currently have tablets, they expect that number to increase 250% by the end of next year to approximately 15% of their user community.
The organizations reported a noteworthy divergence of reasons for supporting mobile devices. For smartphones, the most reported benefit driving adoption was email access. For tablets, the driver was executives demanding that IT support the devices. Unlike smartphones, the main use of tablets was apps including “App Store Apps,” custom apps, and mobile access to a variety of enterprise IT resources.
“The good news is that there’s still time for enterprise IT to plan and prepare for the onslaught of mobile device deployments coming in 2012. However, our survey reveals that many IT organizations are under resourced and under investing in tools, and this could cost companies competitiveness and delay solutions that reduce security risks” said T. Reid Lewis, president of GroupLogic, a founding member of the Enterprise Device Alliance. “The Enterprise Device Alliance helps IT professionals make the best choices for their organizations by arming them with an aggregate view of the plans of their peers as we’ve done with this survey. The EDA helps IT professionals prepare for the future by providing examples of solutions that are proven in the marketplace.”
One novel challenge that mobile devices present to IT is managing employee owned devices (BYOD). A surprising three quarters (75%) of responding organizations reported policies that allowed at least some of their staff to use their own mobile device for company purposes. The survey revealed that even among the largest organizations, those with more than 10,000 employees, two thirds (66%) allowed some employees to bring their own devices and that IT would support them to some degree. This acceptance of BYOD may explain why 45% of the companies provide no prescribed device configurations. For the 55% who are providing some configuration, one of the most comprehensive ways to deliver them is by using a mobile device management (MDM) solution. But only 16% of organizations with more than 500 employees reported using MDM solutions today. That number is expected to more than triple to 50% by the end of 2012.
Other noteworthy findings of the survey include:
- More than half (56%) of IT departments see popular consumer solutions such as Gmail and Dropbox as security threats, nearly one third (30%) of all organizations tolerate the use of these consumer solutions because they aren’t using a secure alternative.
- 55% of the organizations expect to have completed their pilot testing of tablets and moved to production deployment by the end of 2012.
- Email access is the primary enterprise resource that IT will make available to mobile users (87%) followed by remote control/access to a personal computer (38%) and access to documents and files on corporate servers (31%).
- Perhaps due to the halo effect of the iOS devices, Macs will increase their penetration in the responding enterprise-class organizations by 40% from 6.7 to 9.6% of the personal computers by the end of 2012.
The in-depth survey sought to learn the impact of smartphones and tablets on large organizations and the IT administrators who are tasked to manage and support them. The online survey was conducted from September 22 to October 15, 2011 and elicited 532 responses. From these, we selected 277 IT administrators who were in commercial, government and educational organizations with more than 100 employees. 68% of the respondents were from organizations with more than 500 employees. Responses from computer consultants, resellers and independent support professionals were excluded. A complete report of the findings is available at the Mobile Survey Summary.
Enterprise Device Alliance members comment on the implications of the survey data:
"The survey data reports that the skyrocketing deployment of mobile devices means that IT faces higher help desk service request volume with no new staff," observed Terry Siddall, vice president at Web Help Desk. "The Web Help Desk ITSM help desk solution is mobile ready, MDM integrated, and completely automated. Deploying these efficiencies will be the difference between success or failure as the infusion of mobile devices continues."
"The EDA survey data shows that 56% of IT staffers in enterprise IT view consumer solutions like Dropbox as security risks, and they need secure, enterprise-ready alternatives," said T. Reid Lewis, president and co-founder of GroupLogic. "Our mobilEcho 'mobile file managed' solution provides an easy to use, secure, and centrally managed alternative to consumer solutions such as Dropbox."
“The growing popularity among employees for Mac and mobile devices is requiring organizations to support and manage additional platforms in their environment,” said Frank Cabri, Centrify vice president of marketing. “The majority of the surveyed organizations said they want to utilize Microsoft Active Directory to manage their mobile devices. They understand that it make sense to leverage that same infrastructure to easily and cost-effectively centralize administration and management of all users, Macs and other devices.”
“The results of the EDA survey reflect the reality faced by most of our customers. Tablets and other ultra-portable devices are definitely entering organizational deployments–often as employee-owned devices. And the number one concern on the part of IT is how to adequately secure these devices and the corporate data they can access,” said Peter Frankl, vice president for Lifecycle Management at Absolute Software. “The most surprising result is the rapid rate of growth. This exceeded our expectations and only emphasizes the need for IT to act now.”
About the Enterprise Device Alliance
The Enterprise Device Alliance is a non-profit technology group that serves as a resource for organizations deploying, integrating, and managing Macs, iPhones and iPads in Windows-managed environments. The EDA delivers free information, market data, and access to solutions that support heterogeneous environments. The EDA member companies are leading technology solution providers for cross-platform enterprises. Member companies include Absolute Software, Centrify, GroupLogic, and Web Help Desk. For more information, visit www.enterprisedevicealliance.org.