Building the BYOD Trend

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Federal employees are increasingly using their own personal mobile devices to access federal networks, and most of the time, agencies aren't stopping them.

A recent survey of 72 federal IT professionals by Network World and SolarWinds found that 83 percent of agencies issue employees mobile devices such as iPhones, Blackberries and laptops that can access agency networks. But nearly 60 percent of respondents said there are no restrictions on what types of personal mobile devices can access their agencies' networks.

Allowing federal employees to use personal mobile devices -- a trend known as "bring your own device," or BYOD -- has led to several benefits, respondents noted. For example, BYOD has resulted in increased productivity from home (40 percent), increased productivity (34 percent) and better remote access (32 percent). Only 12 percent said BYOD has resulted in decreased productivity, and 31 percent said they had not seen any change in behavior as a result of the BYOD trend.

Still, while many agencies are embracing the BYOD trend, nearly 60 percent of IT professionals said their agency does not have the necessary tools in place to manage non-agency-issued mobile devices on the network. The increased use of mobile devices also is resulting in increased helpdesk requests (46 percent), increased network traffic (42 percent) and an increase in security issues (19 percent). Only 6 percent of IT professionals said a non-agency issued mobile device had been responsible for a security breach on the network.