Are consumer devices, social media and video causing company IT policies to bend, or break?
Date: Tue, 03/15/2011 - 20:13 Source: Cisco press department
Cisco study shows disconnect between IT policies' relevance to employee lifestyles as workers become more mobile – presents opportunity for IT to strike balance between reality and risk management
Cisco announced recently the results of the Cisco® Connected World Report, an international study that reveals the expectations and behavior of workers in accessing information anywhere, anytime, with any device. The second set of results from the Cisco Connected World Report shows a disconnect between IT policies and workers, especially as employees strive to work in a more mobile fashion and use numerous devices, social media and new forms of communication such as video. As technology trends alter the way businesses communicate and operate, more than two-thirds of workers surveyed believed their companies' IT policies could be improved, and at least two of every five (41 percent) said they break those policies to meet their needs.
This announcement builds on the initial findings released last october 2010, which examined the desire of workers to access corporate networks, applications and information anywhere at any time with virtually any device. With this desire as a backdrop, the latest findings reveal how real-life consumer trends like social media, video and increasing numbers of devices in the workplace are causing many employees around the world to question the relevance of corporate IT policies and break them with more regularity.
Employee Awareness and Adherence to IT Policies
• The study, which involved surveys of 2,600 workers and IT professionals in 13 countries, revealed that while most companies have IT policies (82 percent), about one in four employees (24 percent) are unaware that such policies exist. An additional 23 percent reported that their companies do not have IT policies on acceptable device usage. When combined, almost half of the workers in the study (47 percent) either do not have an IT policy on device usage or do not know that one exists.
• For those employees who have an IT policy, 35 percent say IT does not provide an explanation or rationale for why it exists, which can result in apathy, misunderstanding and selective compliance.
• Among workers aware of IT policy, about two of three (64 percent) feel it could use some improvement. These employees believe policies could be updated to reflect real-world needs and work styles, such as finding an acceptable medium between device usage, social media, mobility and work flexibility.
• Of those employees who admit to breaking IT policies, about two of every five (41 percent) say it's because they need restricted programs and applications to get the job done – they're simply trying to be more productive and efficient.
• One of five (20 percent) employees worldwide said they break IT policy because they believe their company or IT team will not enforce it.
• This research points to an issue among many businesses worldwide: the need to re-evaluate and update IT policies to align with the growing reality of a workforce that is demanding more enablement to be connected anywhere, anytime, with any device and any information in their work and personal lives.
IT Policy Toward Employee Use of Social Media, Devices
• Social media use is restricted to varying degrees around the world and per company. Although half (51 percent) of the employees surveyed worldwide believe social media, while not work-related, contributes to work-life balance, two of five (41 percent) said they are restricted from using Facebook at their job, and one of three (35 percent) is restricted from using Twitter at work or with work devices.
• More than one in four (28 percent) workers are restricted from using instant messaging at work or with work devices, and one in five (21 percent) are restricted from doing personal e-mail on work devices and during work hours.
• Two of every three employees (64 percent) believe their IT teams and companies should loosen up and allow social media use during work hours with work devices, citing work-life balance as a key reason, particularly because many of them can work in a mobile, distributed fashion and put in longer hours as a result.
• The use of personal devices like iPads and iPhones is also restricted to some degree. Globally, almost one in five (18 percent) employees are not allowed to use their iPods at work, and almost one in five (18 percent) are restricted from using personal devices like employee-owned laptops or phones.
• The majority of employees (66 percent) believe they should be able to connect freely with any device – personal or company-issued – and access the applications and information that they need around the clock. Policy or no policy, many employees will simply do it, raising the question about how effective a policy is and how IT can update, enforce and ensure better compliance.
The Rise of Video in the Workplace
• The use of video is on the rise as a form of consumer and enterprise communication. Globally, more than two-thirds of IT professionals (68 percent) feel that the importance of video communications to their company will increase in the future. This sentiment is particularly true among those in Mexico (85 percent), China (85 percent), Brazil (82 percent), and Spain (82 percent).
• However, not all employees who wish to use video communications in the workplace are able to do so today. About two in five employees (41 percent) said they cannot use video as a communications tool at work, with more than half of employees in the United States (53 percent), the United Kingdom (55 percent), Germany (55 percent) and France (60 percent) not having the capability of using video for workplace communications.
About the Study
• The study was commissioned by Cisco and conducted by InsightExpress, a third-party market research firm based in the United States.
• Cisco commissioned the study to maintain its understanding of present-day challenges that companies face as they strive to address employee and business needs amid increasing mobility capabilities, security risks, and technologies that can deliver applications and information more ubiquitously – from virtualized data centers and cloud computing to traditional wired and wireless networks.
• The global study focuses on two surveys – one centering on employees, the other on IT professionals. Each survey included 100 respondents from each of the 13 countries, resulting in a survey pool of 2,600 people.
• The 13 countries include Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Marie Hattar, vice president, Borderless Networks, Cisco, said: "The Cisco Connected World Report provides further insight into the next-generation workforce. The time spent between work and personal lives has blurred. Employees expect to access networks, applications and information anywhere, at any time, on any device. With the expansion of diverse devices in the workplace, along with the growth of video as a favored mode of communication, IT organizations are facing many policy and management demands on their networking infrastructure. The good news is that IT departments can allow employees to be productive and satisfy their desire to socially network on consumer or company-issued devices through the agility and flexibility provided by a Cisco Borderless Network Architecture."
Nasrin Rezai, senior director, Cisco Security, said: "While most companies have IT policies, employees are not always aware of or knowledgeable about them. For those employees who are cognizant, policies are not always considered up-to-date or reflective of real-world business and lifestyle expectations, and as a result they are broken many times. The Cisco Connected World Report spotlights the disconnect between IT, employees and policies. As workforces become more distributed and the consumerization of IT becomes a fact of mainstream life, the importance of updating appropriate policies to accommodate employee needs while balancing risk and security becomes critical."