IT and business leaders are accepting, even embracing, the “bring your own device” (BYOD) movement as a reality in the enterprise, according to a recent study from Cisco.

The study polled 600 U.S. industry leaders, 95 percent of whom say that their organizations permit employee-owned devices in some way, shape or form in the workplace. The study concluded that the average number of connected devices per knowledge worker is expected to reach 3.3 by 2014, up from an average of 2.8 in 2012.

The IT managers are balancing security and support concern with the potential to reap significant cost and productivity benefits from BYOD trends.

BYOD was also found to be a gateway to greater business benefits—over three-fourths (76 percent) of IT leaders surveyed categorized BYOD as somewhat or extremely positive for their companies. Managers are acknowledging the need for a more holistic approach, one that is scalable and addresses concerns for mobility, security, virtualization and network policy management, the report says.

Additional survey findings include:

·         95 percent of organizations allow employee-owned devices in some way, shape or form in the workplace.

o   84 percent not only allow employee-owned devices, but offer some level of support.

o   36 percent provide full support for employee-owned devices.

·         Mobility and device use are on the rise: 78 percent of U.S. white-collar employees use a mobile device for work purposes, and 65 percent require mobile connectivity to do their jobs.

o   On average, mobility initiatives will consume 20 percent of IT budgets in 2014, compared to 17 percent in 2012.

·         Most IT leaders (76 percent) consider consumerization “somewhat” or “extremely” positive for their companies.

o   The top two perceived BYOD benefits, according to the survey respondents, were improved employee productivity (more opportunities to collaborate) and greater job satisfaction.

·         Employees want to work their way.

o   40 percent of respondents cited “device choice” as the employees’ top BYOD priority.

o   Employees’ second BYOD priority was the desire to perform personal activities at work and work activities during personal time.

o   Employees want to bring their own applications to work: 69 percent said that unapproved applications—especially social networks, cloud-based email and instant messaging—are more prevalent today than two years ago.

o   Employees are willing to invest to improve their work experience. According to the Cisco, their employees pay an average of $600 out-of-pocket for devices that give them more control over their work experience.

·         BYOD benefits add up: Cisco estimates that the annual benefits from BYOD range from $300 to $1,300 per employee, depending on his or her job role.

In terms of security, BYOD does become more complex.

·         Respondents cited security/privacy and IT support for multiple mobile platforms as top BYOD challenges.

·         Device proliferation requires new policies and approaches to control cost. According to the Cisco IBSG analysis, only 14 percent of BYOD costs are hardware-related.

Desktop virtualization is also on the rise, especially for business continuity, so workers can access applications though multiple locations and devices; employee productivity; and IT costs.