I talk to our customers often, and lately I’ve been hearing that they are seeing more and more diversity in the types of devices connecting to their network. More importantly, these devices are not being provisioned by the IT folks, but are being brought in by the employees. iPads, iPhones, Droids, Tablets and others are connecting into the enterprise network. Unlike a decade ago where IT could easily say no to an unmanaged device, it’s harder today when everyone wants to use one, including your CEO.

As the IT guy or gal, it’s your job to both protect the network and make it accessible, two roles often at odds. I’ve discovered that many of you are using OpenDNS to provide malware and botnet protection, along with all our other services, to help protect these devices. Since our service lives in the network, it doesn’t require any on-device client software and we don’t care if you’re running iOS 4.3 or 5.0 — or Android Froyo or Gingerbread. Our protection is device agnostic.

It turns out though, we aren’t the only ones seeing this trend. Analyst firm IDC published a study this week on this exact topic, the consumerization of IT. They note that employees are increasingly using laptops, smartphones and tablets to get work done.

In addition, increasingly those employees are working in coffee shops, on airplanes, even while traveling in cars (as passengers, of course). Traditional security appliances and services weren’t designed for this. It’s an IT problem for companies, which means it becomes a problem for network admins, everywhere.

I am interested in these kinds of studies because I know that OpenDNS is a solution.

For those new to our service, OpenDNS provides a simple malware blocking service that’s more powerful than anything else available. By simply pointing to our IPs and configuring your settings in our web-based dashboard, you can immediately protect your network.

Back to the study. Some impactful, but not altogether surprising, stats:

  • 83% of IT people called “Security Concerns” the greatest barrier to actually enabling employees to use mobile devices for work. (Even though they’re clearly already using them.)
  • 40% of devices used to access business applications are personally owned in 2011, up from 30% in 2010.
  • Only 50% of employees reported their desktop PC as the most critical business device in 2010. But even less, only 35% expect it to be in 2012.
  • 74% of IT people consider employee-provided tablets as a security threat.
  • 80% of IT people described security as an “Urgent” concern.

Lastly, Stacey Higginbotham over at GigaOm, published a neat infographic of the major stats from this study. If you are the IT hero in your office, it makes for some sobering reading, and if you aren’t, you might want to point your IT staff over to take a look.

What do you think?

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