Security fears, breaches driving a third of BYOD policies in Canada

More than one third of Canadian businesses with bring your own device (BYOD) policies adopted them as a result of specific security breaches or red flags, a new study shows.

The finding is part of a new Citrix Systems survey of global BYODpractices and policies among 1,900 senior IT managers in 19 countries,including Canada. When asked why they had already put a BYOD policy inplace, 35 per cent of the Canadian businesses that have one said theydid so as the result of an actual security breach or risk evaluation.

Staff, not security issues, seem to be the main drivers of CanadianBYOD policies, however. The top reason given for putting BYOD rules inplacewas “in response to employees using their own devices,” (cited by 56per cent) while 54 per cent said they formulated a policy upon “requestfrom employees.” In other words, employees are using their own personaldevices for work whether there’s a formal policy in place or not, socompanies are developing guidelines to keep up with that reality.

Only 34 per cent of Canadian firmsin the Citrix survey have a BYOD policy compared with 51 per cent ofU.S. firms. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Implementing those guidelines isn’t easy, however. Asked whichchallenges they’ve faced in introducing BYOD policies, 59 per cent saidchallenges around security concerns, followed by challenges involvingcompliance and data privacy standards (named by 50 per cent) and theability to understand and plan for potential legal issues (cited by 47per cent).

Overall, Canadians are lagging behind Americans when it comes toenterprise BYOD policy adoption. Although 34 per cent of Canadian firmsalready have a formal policy in place – easily topping the globalaverage of 24 per cent – that’s way lower than the 51 per cent of U.S.businesses that have jumped on board the BYOD policy train.

“I think Canadian companies are a little more conservative and cautious(than U.S. firms) as we approach things,” said Michael Murphy, areavice-president, sales and country manager for Canada at Citrix. “Thereare concerns around information security and data privacy, and our(Canadian) standards tend to be a little higher around privacy,” headded, noting that Canada’s privacy laws are more complex than in theU.S. because they vary from province to province.

There’s good news and bad news in the study for Research in Motion.Despite the company’s flagging fortunes, 61 per cent of Canadiancompanies plan to continue supporting the BlackBerry OS for in-houseemployee use – at least for now.

That puts the BlackBerry OS in second spot behind Apple’s iOS, whichgarnered support from 71 per cent of Canadian firms. Rounding out theCanadian responses, 52 per cent of businesses plan to support Androidand 45 per cent plan to support Windows Mobile.

Canadian firms signaled the third highest level of BlackBerry OSsupport among all 19 countries surveyed, topped only by 73 per centsupport in the UK and 63 per cent in India. (The global average was 39per cent planned support for BlackBerry.)

But that Canadian level of BlackBerry enterprise support may befleeting, Murphycautioned. Although current support for BlackBerry remains high in theCanadian enterprise, Murphy said it has less to do with patriotism andmore to do with two other factors: while BlackBerry is still seen asmore secure than other operating systems, many Canadian businesses aresimply waiting out the current life cycle of their BlackBerrydeployments before moving onto iOS or other mobile platforms.

“There might be some patriotism but at the end of the day, verylittle,” Murphy said. “Organizations do like the security aspect ofBlackBerry and the control it has afforded these mostly corporate owneddevices. But as BYOD becomes more prevalent, more people will choosetheir own device.  But when you look at any technology that’sheld the top market share, it doesn’t decline overnight. When peoplehave a BlackBerry they have it for two to four years and I don’t thinkwe’re anywhere near the end of that cycle.”

Christine WongChristineWong is a Staff Writer at ITBusiness.ca and CDN. E-mail her at cwong@itbusiness.ca,connect on Google+,follow her on Twitter,and join in the conversation on the IT BusinessFacebook Page.
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