This blog post is part of a continuing series on the Trust in Computing Research, a survey we undertook across nine countries and thousands of individuals during a project called TwC Next. During the process, more questions than answers arose in discussions about all of the computing and technology trends that society is currently experiencing and how they affect people’s trust in technology.

This blog post specifically looks at the questions we asked about devices and the concept of consumerization of IT.

  Note: The consumerization of IT refers mainly to consumer technology that is ultimately adopted in the enterprise. A good example of this would be bring your own device (BYOD), where companies may allow employees to use their own mobile devices for business purposes rather than issuing a “corporate” device.

During the first part of the blog series, we highlighted several interesting points regarding the use of personal devices in the workplace:

  • There are a significant number of people wanting to use their own devices in the workplace (40 percent) and actually doing so (67 percent).
  • 49 percent of respondents are allowed to use their own mobile devices, with a roughly 50/50 split on whether the IT department manages those devices or not.
  • People are generally concerned about security, privacy and reliability issues, with 87 percent concerned about system outages.

During the survey we asked what devices people use, how they use them, and with what frequently they do so. If I compare myself to a friend who would be considered more of an information worker (who does not work in IT, but uses technology for business purposes), I wondered what similarities and differences there might be. For example, I use a laptop as my primary work device, a smartphone for personal and business use and an e-reader for browsing the web (and reading e-books of course). I also use a game console connected to the Internet for playing games online and watching streaming media (TV, music, news and movies). Interestingly enough, so does this particular friend who does not work in the technology world. So does this mean that because of the pervasiveness of technology this is similar across all audiences and demographics? Or just because we have access to similar devices, does it mean we use them in the same way?

 

As a quick reminder, we have previously defined the audiences as:

  • IT Professional: Plans, deploys, manages, or supports information technology for a company or organization.
  • Developer: Designs or customizes software applications or Web sites; writes or tests computer code; or manages a software development process.
  • Business/Policy Decision Maker: Makes business or policy decisions that direct a company or organization’s strategies, or determines how resources are allocated, but does not work in the IT department.
  • Information worker: Uses a computer at work as part of their job and is not part of the roles above.
  • Home User: Uses a computer solely at home for personal purposes.

Let’s see if there are any patterns in terms of device use based on roles. Starting with frequent use of devices, we see that by far the most used device across the board is the PC. However, we start to see some significant differences between Home Users and everyone else when we look at other devices. In this case, 32 percent of Home Users compared with 78 percent of IT Professionals frequently use smartphones for personal use. Comparatively, a higher percentage (74 percent) of Business and Policy Decision Makers (roughly the same number as for smartphones for personal use) are using smartphones for business use.

[1] “Frequent” device usage (PC, Tablet, Smartphone, Game) by audience

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Keep in mind the above refers to people who consider themselves frequent users (once or more per day) of these devices. When we look at people who classify themselves as infrequent users (less than once a day), we see that gaming consoles connected to the internet rate the highest, whereas these types of devices were the lowest for frequent users.

With the increased focus on gaming consoles for entertainment such as media streaming (TV, music, news and movies), it is likely we will see these devices increase in use. We did not ask how long people use the devices for in this survey, but the results here suggest this as a useful addition for the future. The reason for this is that a single use of a smartphone to check email may take seconds, whereas a single game on a gaming console may take hours and constitute a single, long use.

Once again, Home Users are significantly less frequent users of devices than other groups, with a high number of developers identifying themselves as infrequent users of devices such as tablets, smartphones and gaming consoles. I am sure my developer friends would tell me this is because they are too busy working, but keep in mind that a significant number of developers also classified themselves as frequent users, albeit somewhat below IT Professionals and Business and Policy Decision Makers in this regard.

[1] “Infrequent” device usage (PC, Tablet, Smartphone, Game) by audience

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We looked (above) at the frequent and infrequent device usage details, but how about the devices people don’t use at all? This view is specifically useful to understand where the potential growth area is in device use. The biggest areas of growth opportunity are with tablets and game consoles across the board. However, both home users and information workers present the biggest opportunities. If we look at the trends of consumerization of IT and BYOD, it is reasonable to think that as more companies allow the use of personal devices in the workplace, so may the numbers of people using some of these devices types may increase.

[1] “Do not use” device usage (PC, Tablet, Smartphone, Game) by audience

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As a teaser to an up-coming post looking at demographics, there were two other views I wanted to share with you. What about age and income? For those who classified themselves as frequent users, we see that PC use is pretty constant across the board, but there does indeed seem to be a correlation between age and frequent device use otherwise.

[1] “Frequent” device usage (PC, Tablet, Smartphone, Game) by age

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I did wonder also if the above device use was dependent on other factors such as household income. In this instance, for people that identified themselves as frequent device users, we can see that the amount of money you earn does indeed make a difference on the device use.

[1] “Frequent” device usage (PC, Tablet, Smartphone, Game) by household income

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You might ask yourself why I shared those specific data points, but there is a particular thought I want to share here… It is reasonable to say that many factors will impact the use and frequency of devices. However, trends such as the blurring of personal and business lives, the move towards online / cloud services and the decreasing cost of devices and connectivity will be some of the biggest factors in not only what devices we choose, but how frequently we use them.

To illustrate my point, let’s take a look at how the adoption of consumer technology in the workplace is increasingly being driven by employee demand. A recent interview with Jeanette Horan (IBM’s chief information officer), suggested that allowing employees to use their own devices in the workplace didn’t save money, instead created new challenges.

 

“The trend toward employee-owned devices isn't saving IBM any money, says Jeanette Horan, who is IBM's chief information officer and oversees all the company's internal use of IT. Instead, she says, it has created new challenges for her department of 5,000 people, because employees' devices are full of software that IBM doesn't control.

Horan says that when IBM surveyed several hundred employees using mobile devices, many were "blissfully unaware" of what popular apps could be security risks.”

This trend alone can increase the security risks faced by companies and give rise to new challenges in how to manage the devices, applications and services in use.

One of the questions we asked was “Do you currently use any of your own devices in the workplace (e.g., computer, tablet, smartphone)?” Unsurprisingly those who had more technical roles (IT Professionals and Developers) were more likely to use their own devices. Surprisingly, nearly 70 percent of Information Workers also suggested that they use their own devices in the workplace.

[2] Own device usage in the workplace by audience

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Interestingly enough, we also asked how important it was for people to be able to use their own devices in the workplace. Significantly, while less than 20 percent of Home Users actually use their own devices in the workplace, around 38 percent felt it was very important that they be able to do so.

[2] Importance of using your own device in the workplace by audience

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I referenced the blurring of personal and business lives earlier and with the use of devices such as laptops and smartphones, inside the workplace and at home; it is perhaps easy to see why the lines can become blurred. We also asked respondents how important it is to be able to separate out personal and work profiles on devices. A good example of this would be the use of a laptop for both work and personal email. Would it be useful for people to be able to separate out these functions? Overwhelmingly, we found that most people would prefer to be able to do exactly that, especially those in more technical roles.

[3] Ability to separate out personal and work profiles on a device by audience

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Now we know that people would prefer to do with respect to using their own devices for work, what are companies encouraging or allowing? We asked people to indicate their organization’s policy on employees buying their own PCs or laptops for work purposes. It is important to note that we did not ask Information Workers or Home Users this question.

The purpose behind asking about an organization’s policy is to primarily focus on those companies that have taken steps to understand the risk vs. benefit equation. In this instance, we can see that the majority of companies do indeed have a policy. We also see that in most cases, employees are allowed to buy their own PCs or laptops for work purposes, but that they are not subsidized. This may suggest that as hardware becomes outdated and before the company replaces it, users are leveraging their own laptops and PCs for work.

Some companies provide employees with an allowance to purchase their own preferred hardware for work, which can mean IT departments supporting a wider range of hardware. However, still many organizations prohibit the use of such devices for work purposes.

[4] Organization’s policy on employees buying their own PCs or laptops by audience

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Beyond who buys the computer, what about an organization policy towards people installing own applications or personal data on the PC? In this instance, we see a slightly different picture whereby what you are allowed to do may depend more on your role. For example, Business and Policy Decision Makers are perhaps more restricted in installing their own applications and personal data vs. developers. A relatively small percentage of organizations (overall eight percent) do not have policies, and even fewer (overall two percent) didn’t know. Overall, less than 30 percent of organizations specifically prohibit employees from installing their own applications and personal data.

[5] Organization’s policy towards people installing own applications or personal data by audience

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Going beyond the PC, we asked respondents to indicate their organization’s mobile device policy for work email and applications. Once again, it is suggested that policies may depend to a certain extent on the role people have. For example, in the case of IT Professionals, over 25 percent are provided an organization supplied and organization managed device, contrasting with less than 20 percent of Developers. This may be a function of being on-call and needing to respond to IT issues for example. Overall, both IT Professionals (50 percent) and Developers (50 percent) use slightly more unmanaged devices than Business and Policy Decision Makers (45 percent).

[6] Organization’s mobile device policy for work email and applications by audience

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Given all of the device use and policies around those devices, applications and data, we took the opportunity to ask what respondents were concerned about. We gave a number of specific examples and asked people to rate how concerned they were given their company’s policies, such as:

  • Organization, employee, or customer data breach/loss
  • Intellectual property misappropriated/stolen
  • System outage
  • Organization announcement compromised
  • Negative press cycle
  • Employee/internal human resources issues
  • External legal issues

There were similar concerns (top three highlighted in red) across all of the roles, however there were small variances in the items that were least concerning (top three highlighted in green). [7]

 

 

IT Professional

Developer

Business/Policy Decision Maker

Organization, employee, or customer data breach/loss

59%

54%

52%

Intellectual property misappropriated/stolen

57%

56%

51%

System outage

60%

57%

55%

Organization announcement compromised

15%

 

24%

Negative press cycle

16%

20%

25%

Employee/internal human resources issues

 

18%

23%

External legal issues

15%

20%

 

Conclusion

In this part of the series, we looked at some general factors around device usage (what are people using and how frequently) and the policies companies have toward the use of personal devices in the workplace. Both of these fall in line with the concept of consumerization of IT. We wrapped up by asking how concerned people are with security, privacy and reliability issues given their company’s policies on cloud, social media and device usage and will drill into this area more in upcoming analysis.

There were several interesting findings that came out of this analysis:

  • Information workers and home users are significantly less likely to use smartphones than others. 32 percent of Home Users compared with 78 percent of IT Professionals frequently use smartphones for personal use.
  • IT professionals, developers and decision makers (60 percent on average) see more importance of using your own device in the workplace than others (42 percent on average).
  • Business / Policy decision makers (30 percent) and IT professionals (28 percent) are more likely to be prohibited from putting their own applications and data on their computers than others (19 percent).

Make sure you keep watching the Microsoft Security Blog: http://blogs.technet.com/security for further analysis.


Sources and references

[1] Source: On average, how often, if at all, do you use the following devices? (PC, Tablet, Smartphone for Personal Use, Smartphone for Business Use, Game Console)

[2] Source: Trust in Computing Survey 2012, Q. Do you currently use any of your own devices in the workplace (PC, Tablet, Smartphone for Personal Use, Smartphone for Business Use, Game Console)?

[3] Source: Trust in Computing Survey 2012, Q. How important is it to you to be able to do each of the following? (Own device, separate profiles)

[4] Source: Trust in Computing Survey 2012, Q. Please indicate your organization’s policy on employees buying their own PCs or laptops for work purposes.

[5] Source: Trust in Computing Survey 2012, Q. Q43. Please indicate your organization’s policy on employees installing their own applications or storing personal data on their work PC.

[6] Source: Please indicate your organization’s mobile device policy for work email and applications.

[7] Source: Trust in Computing Survey 2012, Q. Given your organization’s policies on cloud, social, and devices, how concerned are you with the following? (data breach, IP stolen, system outage, negative PR)