September 20, 2011, 3:55 PM — Despite the increasing use of smartphones at work, more than one-third of companies still don't provide any support for personal phones or outright prohibit their use at the office.
That was a finding by Forrester Research in a recent survey of 1,051 IT managers in North America and Europe. The data found that while 26% of the companies don't provide support for personal mobile phones and smartphones, another 10% prohibited use of personal devices, for a total of 36%.
At the same time, about 16% of the IT managers surveyed said their companies support all kinds of personal devices, while 14% support only certain types and models.
Some companies have developed long sets of policies for when and how to support personal devices used by workers. The most progressive companies are investing in mobile device management software, available from many vendors, to track employee devices and the applications used on them. This software also has the ability to wipe sensitive data off a lost device.
Forrester said in a new research note that increasing numbers of employee-owned devices and questions of supporting them are "crippling" existing mobile strategies. The effect has led companies to rethink their strategies and to begin supporting both company-owned devices and those owned by employees.
Forrester said that nearly 600 of its clients asked for advice in the last six months, including ways to support employee-owned devices. The research firm gleaned some lessons from early adopters of mobile device management in a set of extensive interviews.
Among the tips they received was that IT managers should create a single mobile policy for both corporate and employee-owned devices. Many firms have either no policy or practices that apply only to corporate-owned devices.
Because Apple 's iPhones and iPads and devices running the Android operating system are most preferred by employees, Forrester said progressive IT managers are starting to support both platforms and work around some of their security limitations.