How to calculate BYOD risk

It sounds like a polarising election-year issue – the tension between:

- Right to choose:enterprise end-users who want to use their own smartphones and tablets to access enterprise resources
- Right to wipe: enterprise IT departments who want to ensure that they can centrally lock, erase or wipe enterprise data if the employee-owned device is lost or stolen

The qualitative arguments can run hot on both sides.

Employees increasingly view both the freedom to use the latest mobile devices and their own bubble of personal privacy as an inalienable right.

IT and IT Security professionals seek to maximise employee productivity and job satisfaction while managing enterprise risk and cost.

But can any of these arguments be quantified? Aberdeen's recent research in Enterprise Mobility Management provides some interesting insights.

Balancing Employee Choice and Enterprise Risk
Figure 1 breaks down the number of companies permitting employees to use their own smartphones or tablets for business purposes, along with the number of companies currently supporting the capability to remotely lock and wipe mobile devices, in the event they are lost or stolen.

One way to view these findings is that the most conservative policies, which provide support only for enterprise-owned devices and support for enterprise remote wipe are in the lower-left.

The most liberal policies, such as support for BYOD, with no support for enterprise remote wipe, are in the upper-right.

We can also see that companies supporting the most liberal policies outnumber those supporting the most conservative policies by a factor of three-to-one.

The right to choose comes at a price, as seen in the average percentage of lost or stolen mobile devices in the last 12 months that were not successfully recovered or decommissioned (see Figure 2).

In other words, these lost or stolen devices also meant the loss or exposure of enterprise data, as well as employee personal data.

Based on the 436 respondents in Aberdeen's analysis, the most liberal policies resulted in nearly 4-times the frequency of data loss or exposure in comparison to the most conservative policies.

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