The projected mobile commerce growth for 2017 was said to double from 2016, and the same kind of increase is being projected for 2018. With that, the overall use of mobile devices in the enterprise is expected to move in this same direction. But despite the increased usage, the IT support given to mobile does not always follow the same path.
In fact, any mobile support that IT has given to mobile devices has been done out of reluctant necessity. Because mobile blew up so quickly, and employees – including upper level executives – became accustomed to having their email and other information at their fingertips while at any location, BYOD (bring your own device) was essentially an unstoppable force that IT departments had to accommodate. Today, about 73% of adults in the U.S. use smartphones (according to eMarketer) and users spend approximately five hours per day on their mobile devices (according to Flurry). Gartner has estimated that 95% of global enterprises will function with a CYOD (choose your own device) as well as a formal BYOD plan.
Benefits to BYOD
There are some benefits to BYOD that IT departments are starting to realize as well. There is some cost savings as the company isn’t always expected to purchase, manage and repair these devices. There is also increased productivity when employees are using devices that they chose themselves, and they always have the option to connect to work whether or not they’re in the office.
Because of this, enterprise mobility is now being viewed as an essential function that is key to the continued growth of a business. Improved productivity and efficiency means greater ROI. One report by MarketsandMarkets expects the mobile enterprise market to grow from $35.10 billion in 2016 to $73.30 billion to 2021. The biggest driving forces behind this are cited to be increased employee productivity and satisfaction, reduced cost for enterprise hardware, increased smartphone penetration, the demand for enterprise mobility software in large enterprises with in-house IT departments, as well as the growing prominence of managed mobility services.
Now that BYOD is more common and increasingly becoming more expected at large organizations, the pressing concern for most IT leaders is security. According to Dimensional Research, 94% of IT professionals expect mobile security attacks to become more frequent, and another 79% expressed an increased difficulty to securing these devices. AT&T reported the number of vulnerability scans directed at IoT devices increased by 458% over the past two years.
Employee devices brought into an organization do not have the security features normally mandatory for other IT-provided devices used on business premises. This puts IT departments under a lot of pressure – hence their aversion to the BYOD movement in the first place. Ultimately, computer and network security falls under their umbrella and mobile device management (MDM) is still evolving to maintain the energy and efficiency brought by the BYOD movement while doing so securely. This is especially crucial for organizations who manage sensitive information through mobile data.
BYOD is Inevitable, but Evolving
Some employers try to provide staff with company-provided smartphones in order to add an extra level of security while also providing employees with the mobility they want. The problem is that this method sometimes loses the zest of BYOD, where employees have greater enthusiasm for using devices of their own choice, and like being able to go back and forth from personal to work use without the need of carrying around more than one phone.
One way to alleviate some of this pressure from IT is through secure mobile apps for enterprise programs. Smaato found that for every eight minutes users spend on smartphones, seven of them are spent in apps. Ideally, the apps designed for business use can be used by corporations to ensure security of the data it holds, as well as the device and its network. As app development continues to mature and mobile users continue to be a target of cyber criminals, we should see these becoming more sophisticated in thwarting malicious attacks. Further, network security solutions from a variety of vendors continue to evolve to address the BYOD trend, as well.