The practice known as BYOD, or bring your own device, is becoming an increasingly prevalent phenomenon in todays’ work force. The overall market for tablets and smartphones increased dramatically from 2012 to 2013; from over 800 million to more than 1 billion devices sold. According to Morgan Stanley, “The number of smartphone users is growing by 42% a year, globally.” Worldwide, the majority of these devices, over 70%, operate on an android system. Another 14% operate on iOS, and other operating systems control 5% or less. In fact, Android devices actually sold at a higher rate than computer systems in 2012, with 122.5 million Androids and 87.5 computers sold.
A Growing Market
This increase in smartphone sales likely will not be slowing down anytime soon, as there is still a huge market of potential users. Of the 5 billion mobile phone users, only 1 billion are currently using smartphones, meaning the potential sales in the future are phenomenal.
It is estimated that 40% of the workforce is going to be mobile by 2016, and that the majority of the mobile U.S. workforce will have a smartphone by 2016. Rather than using corporate-provided devices, many employees prefer to use their own personal device for work. In the global perspective, more than half of employees practice BYOD, and in fast growing countries, such as Brazil, Russia, India, South Africa, Malaysia and Singapore, 75% of employees BYOD.
Employees from high growth countries primarily cite that the devices allow them to do their jobs easier as the reason for using their own device. Other reasons are flexibility and the simplicity of combining one phone for personal and professional use. In the U.S., smartphones are more popular devices for doing work than laptops, desktops, feature phones, tablets, netbooks and handheld devices without phone functions. The BYOD model is particularly popular among the younger generations of workers, with those aged 18-24 using their own device in close to half of the cases and older age groups ranging from 38% to 25%.
The IT Risks
Unfortunately, with their own devices, employees might do risky online activities. For example, 12% store passwords on the device and 3% will lose the device. Furthermore, 65% shop without verifying security settings online and 36% click on links they find on social media forums. However, surveys have shown that 35% of employees would still BYOD even if their employer could restrict online activity. Another 33% would agree to tracking of online activities, and 31% would agree to their employee being able to remove all data from the device.
The BYOD phenomenon is a global model of doing business that is growing in many nations, and will not be going away any time soon.