Office workers are causing data compliance and security headaches for their employers by using personal computers in the workplace, research claims.
According to a poll commissioned by user virtualisation vendor AppSense, a growing number of employees are using netbooks, tablet PCs and smartphones for work purposes with scant regard for data handling guidelines.
Out of the 1,050 UK office workers that took part, two-thirds admitted using electronic devices that do not belong to their employers. Nearly half (44 per cent) also said they use three or more devices from home at work a week.
Simon Townsend, technical director at AppSense, said the growing number of employees using their own devices could have dire consequences for employers.
He explained: "This trend is creating lots of problems for employers. Not only does it become increasingly difficult to keep track of software licences, but there is also a steady creep of data and intellectual property out of the organisations.
"If that data is sensitive customer information, a company could even be breaking the law," he added.
Townsend said the challenge for companies is to find ways for employees to use the technology they want in a non-risky and efficient way. He said: "There seems be a real gulf between how employees want to work and the ways in which they are set up to."
At a recent Microsoft roundtable in central London, Clare Barclay, the software giant's director of partner strategy and programmes, said the "bring-your-own" trend was being fuelled by arrival of people who were born post-1980.
She said: "These new entrants are technology natives. They socially interact in a different way and what they're looking for, in terms of how they work and what they use to get their jobs done, is really different."
It is an issue that employers and the channel need to get to grips with, added Barclay, because – in time – this generation will make up the majority of the workforce.
"Employers looking for new staff in the future need to think about the working environment they will offer new recruits and the technology they will be expecting to have access to when they join their firm," she said.
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