UK small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) are leading the way in ensuring staff work securely in the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) era, with 34% of decision-makers saying their businesses have policies, procedures and/or IT systems in place to manage the use of personal communications devices for business purposes. This compares to an average of 28% in Europe and the rest of the world, and only 19% in the U.S. These were among the key findings of a global survey of senior executives and managers in more than 1250 small and medium businesses across Europe, North America and Australia, undertaken by YouGov on behalf of Citrix. This follows a similar study conducted in 2011 exploring the implications of increasing consumerisation of technology in the workplace. The need for a dedicated security strategy was underlined by the fact that as many as 47% of respondents surveyed in the UK said their employees are already using their personal devices for work. This is further emphasised by 55% of senior directors and managers saying they rely on smart phones compared to 54% who selected PCs and 52% laptops. “In encouraging mobile flexible working, it is good to see the UK taking the lead in putting security policies in place,” confirms Robert Gratzl, managing director, VP and GM EMEA, online services division at Citrix.
Clive Longbottom, industry analyst at Quocirca, says: “As the barriers between work and personal lives continue to come down, organisations are now in a position where the traditional fall-off in business activity in the summer can be offset through the targeted use of advanced collaboration tools. “Video-conferencing, online meetings, web application-sharing and other tools can enable a holidaying employee to quickly and effectively resolve any problems early on and return to their break, benefitting them and their employer.” The importance of collaboration SMBs are supporting the greater use of personal devices and consumer-focused tools with remote access software (up from 14% in 2011 to 19% in 2013) and remote IT tools (up from 15% to 18%). “The survey findings highlight how collaboration is central to the creation of an effective, agile and flexible working environment, with benefits to the business, its staff and customers,” says Gratzl. “However, firms must recognise that enabling the use of personal devices also presents a formidable challenge to the IT support team, in looking both to maintain secure remote access and business continuity, at the same time taking full advantage of a more tech-savvy, self-help workforce.”