Government workers defying IT policies by using their personal mobile devices to do their jobs are creating a huge security divide for IT departments, according to a new study.
 
The Unisys Consumerization Study 2012, conducted by Forrester Consulting, shows that 47 percent of public-sector respondents believe using unsupported smartphones and tablets makes them more efficient and productive at work, while 91 percent use personal devices to access email. As a result, the shift to a BYOD culture is putting pressure on government IT departments to handle the support and security challenges presented by personal device use.
 
According to Unisys’ research, 54 percent of public-sector respondents said improved mobile security will be one of their top priorities over the next year. Forty-five percent indicated mobile support for employees will also be a major concern.
 
Only 17 percent of IT workers taking part in the survey said their firms currently provide high levels of support for employee-owned smartphones and tablets, however.
 
Unisys’ study findings are based on two separate surveys conducted in nine countries. One study surveyed approximately 2,600 information workers within organizations to examine their use of consumer technologies in the workplace. The other asked 590 IT and business executives to gauge their views of mobile technologies.
 
“This year’s research shows that the consumerization charge is being led by an elite group of highly connected mobile workers who are using the latest technologies to better serve customers and help their organizations succeed — regardless of whether those technologies are officially supported and sanctioned,” said Unisys CTO Fred Dillman in a statement.
 
“Rather than fighting this trend,” he added, “we believe CIOs and IT decisions makers should study the behavior of these mobile elite workers in order to understand which approaches provide real innovation and differentiation for their organizations, and then craft their mobile infrastructures to safely support these activities.”