The capabilities of smartphones and tablets today have completely revamped and improved on the cell phones we were introduced to just a few years ago. Users can schedule meetings, check e-mail, share via social media, play games, create and share documents, get GPS, take photos and so much more to get the best of both worlds – personal and work life – from a single device. It’s not a surprise that the bring your own device (BYOD) movement has jumped in popularity in work environments worldwide. Despite IT security concerns, employees want what they want, and what they want is to bring their own device to work.
One factor that comes hand-in-hand with these intelligent mobile devices is apps. Applications ranging from social, collaboration, productivity and storage are a huge part of what makes these smartphones so smart. The next wave of enterprise mobility are unleashing the true potential of smartphones and tablets for organizations of all sizes, boosting productivity and customer satisfaction. Apps build on what smartphones offer and help offer an engaging, interactive and customized experience for mobile users.
Although the “bring your own” trend is most commonly associated with employee-owned smartphones and tablets entering the workplace, new research released sheds light on another growing aspect of employee-driven tech adoption: the rise and impact of bring your own apps (BYOA).
Research from LogMeIn (News - Alert), a provider of essential cloud and mobile services to individuals, businesses and IT organizations for remote access, collaboration, customer care and remote IT management, and Edge Strategies, a research firm, found that nearly 70 percent of small and medium businesses (SMBs) report active use of employee-introduced applications.
Image via Maa360
With this insatiable demand for apps, IT needs a comprehensive set of capabilities to distribute, update, manage and secure them on both personal and corporate-owned mobile devices.
Employee-introduced applications range from cloud sync and storage apps such as Dropbox and SkyDrive, collaboration apps such as join.me and Skype, productivity apps such as Google Docs and Evernote (News - Alert) and social apps. Sixty-nine percent of social apps and 52 percent of cloud sync and storage apps being used were originally introduced by employees. Thirty-nine percent of productivity apps and 44 percent of collaboration apps in use at SMBs were first introduced by employees, and 26 percent of these apps were officially endorsed by the employer.
"As with the BYOD trend before it, we're seeing an increasing number of businesses embracing the rise of employee-introduced applications entering the workplace, in spite of the inherent security concerns. And like BYOD, the BYOA trend is likely to introduce a fresh set of IT challenges when it comes to managing a relatively unpredictable, heterogeneous environment — a modern workplace reality that blurs the line between devices and data ownership," said Andrew Burton (News - Alert), senior vice president of products, LogMeIn, in a statement. "This research makes it fairly clear that there is yet to be an agreed upon way for SMBs to best manage and secure the influx of these apps into the workplace…or the sensitive data created by and shared within them."
Only 22 percent of SMB IT pros indicate they are fully prepared to handle BYOA, and 43 percent are concerned with the lack of control over these apps. In spite of these security and management concerns, most SMB IT pros expect their policies to increasingly embrace and encourage the use of such apps over the next few years.
The research surveyed findings from about 1,200 U.S., Canadian, U.K., Australian and New Zealand-based SMBs and covered how applications were first introduced to the workplace, current and expected IT policies around BYOA, various approaches to managing and securing such apps, as well as the expected impact such a change will have on skill sets required of tomorrow’s SMB IT pros.
IT departments are balancing the risks and benefits of this new movement that builds off bring your own device. Just as with BYOD, there are security concerns facing IT, but the employee demand and general shift toward a mobile-dominated lifestyle is forcing them to accept these challenges and figure out how to accommodate them in the most secure manner.
Several mobile device management solutions have emerged since the domination of bring your own device, tablets and smartphones in the workplace. Fiberlink offers MaaS360, a complete mobile device management solution that also includes mobile app management, document management, mobile expense management and other services. MaaS360 simplifies mobile application management by delivering an easy-to-use enterprise app catalog with full operational and security lifecycle management of apps across mobile device platforms. To learn more, click here.
Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida. Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.
Edited by Allison Boccamazzo