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Findings from a recent global survey by Citrix Systems, Inc., provider of virtual computing solutions, reveal that small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are coming under growing pressure to enable their employees to use their personal smart phones, tablets and other devices for business use. Some 25 percent of companies are already supporting the use of such devices in the workplace, and many are benefiting from a significant increase of 30 percent in productivity, as their employees are able to work anywhere, anytime from any device. However, 62 percent of businesses surveyed have no controls in place to manage these devices, and 45 percent of IT managers are unaware of all the devices being used, raising questions regarding security and privacy.

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The survey, which examined how consumer-focused communications devices are being increasingly adopted in the workplace, was undertaken to understand the global use and management of personal communications devices in the workplace to support the growing demands for workforce flexibility. Conducted by YouGov and Research Now between May 2011 and August 2011, the survey polled more than 1100 senior executives and IT managers across Australia, France, Germany, United Kingdom, and the United States.

The survey shows that employees are using new consumer devices in the workplace for both business and personal use. Organizations need to respond to this trend by developing policies to address new mobile work styles that can drive productivity through more flexible working, while safeguarding the use of data and sensitive information.

Survey Top Findings:

*    The dividing line between business and personal devices for work use has become increasingly blurred; less than half of IT managers, 45 percent are unaware of all the personal devices being used by their staff for business purposes.

*   Businesses are seeing productivity gains of up to 36 percent from employees using both personal and business devices.

*   Bring Your Own (BYO) is becoming an accepted business practice for both SMB and enterprise with 25 percent supporting use of personal devices for business purposes.

* Some 35 percent of participants say they are under greater pressure to adopt workforce flexibility practices, including flexibility in the devices used and places employees work.

* Security still ranks #1 as an adoption barrier of allowing remote work for 57 percent of participants.

* Surprisingly, 62 percent of participants have no process or tool to manage and account for the way consumer devices are being used with company data and services. The remaining 38 percent have processes and policies in place to manage and support personal devices, mitigating the risk of compromising their business.

Scenario in the United States

The survey findings revealed that –

* More than 67 percent have no policies, procedures or IT systems in place to manage the use of personal devices for business purposes.

* Less than half of U.S. firms (46 percent) are aware of all the devices their staffs are using for business purposes – yet even this is well ahead of the European average of just 43 percent.

*   53 percent of businesses have recorded productivity improvements of more than 10 percent, with 16 percent confirming gains of more than 30 percent.

*   32 percent of firms are most concerned over the security implications of allowing application and document downloads, and 23 percent are concerned over remote access to the corporate network.

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