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Bring Your Own App storming Australian businesses -- IT departments ill prepared

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Nearly two thirds of Australian enterprises now have staff that use personal apps for work, or Bring You Own App (BYOA), and businesses are struggling to keep up with this phenomenon which is set to overtake BYOD as a strategic IT change, according to a new study by Telsyte.

Telsyte's findings revealed 27% of organisations allow staff to use any personal mobile or cloud app for work purposes without any restrictions.

A similar number allow BYOA from an approved catalogue of apps and a smaller set of businesses do not allow it, but CIOs concede staff go ahead and do it anyway. Among companies that allow, or tolerate, BYOA, 30 percent of staff actively use personal apps for work purposes indicating a high groundswell of interest.

Some 34 percent of businesses do not allow BYOA at all and enforce it with tactical approaches like management tools or other means.

Telsyte Senior Analyst Rodney Gedda says there is a lot of interest in the BYOD trend, but many organisations have overlooked the apps that enter the workplace on personal devices.

"Couple this with thousands of mobile apps, for both personal and business handsets, and the plethora of cloud services available via mobile devices and the Web, and people are creating a new form of shadow-IT with BYOA," Gedda says.

According to Telsyte research, popular BYOA software used for business include: data backups and storage (Dropbox, iCloud); calendaring; collaboration (GoToMeeting, WebEx); voice communications (Skype); project and task management (Remember the Milk); productivity (Pages, QuickOffice Pro); multimedia; and note taking (Evernote).

Balance BYOA for productivity and security

Local businesses can take advantage of the emerging BYOA trend by allowing staff to be productive with public software, however, in many cases this will need to be balanced with the security and integration requirements of corporate IT.

If businesses ban BYOA outright they will miss out on productivity and innovation that comes with people managing their own IT requirements.

Telsyte research indicates data privacy and security are the number one challenges cited by CIOs arising from staff adopting "Bring You Own" IT - both devices and apps.

Nearly 80 percent of Australia's IT departments have no plans to officially support BYOA further indicating the lack of readiness for this emerging social trend.

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Tags: byod  Australia