Smartphones and tablets are now integral to the way many businesses run. They underpin mobile working which in turn boosts productivity and enables the flexible working patterns that are helping businesses attract top staff, keep people motivated and drive efficiencies throughout organisations. As a result, many businesses provide their employees with top of the range smartphones and tablets, meaning consumer communication tools have rapidly become part of enterprise and SMB collaboration ecosytems.
Nominally, these devices are for emails and secure enterprise apps. However, some of the best-known uses are also Skype, WhatsApp, Google Hangouts, Apple’s FaceTime and Facebook Messenger. All of these contribute to a portfolio of communications tools that help tap into a consumer landscape where everything is instant, collaborative and shareable – and this is without doubt, helping propel businesses forward.
But it turns out people are also using their work devices to get up to mischief. We researched employees to find out some of the more salacious activities they get up to on their corporate phones and tablets, and the results made interesting reading. More than half (53 per cent) of respondents use their work devices for personal activity, from shopping to social networking, gaming and porn. Indeed, 3 per cent admitted to having ‘sexted’, taken compromising photos of their partner or installed a pornography app on their device. 5 per cent have also watched or listened to pirated material and 2% have used the popular dating app, Tinder.
The research highlights that a significant number of people are blurring the lines between corporate and personal devices and this is further demonstrated by the fact that 28 per cent admitted to having taken a work device on a night out. But this consumerisation of work devices could be putting corporate data at risk.
Work devices are a portal to company data and the more people treat them like personal phones, the more at risk a company is. Data can easily be leaked through loss or theft. If you’re taking your phone on a night out to a bar or a restaurant, you could be more likely to leave it behind or have it stolen than if it was resting in your laptop bag at home.
Added to this consumerisation-fuelled risk is the fact that people will do almost anything to get their hands on these top-end devices and the data on them. At Absolute, we have seen some crazy examples when working with businesses to retrieve smartphones, tablets and laptops. There was the neighbour who excavated through his neighbour’s attic wall to burgle devices from the house. There was a hotel bell hop stealing laptops from luggage. There was an incident with a local council IT employee who was identified as a laptop thief to the police, who then discovered his whole house full of council IT property.