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Fear the tablet: Cisco survey

Use of tablets and other personal devices at work is a risk and nuisance

Fear the personal device at work. Your IT manager does.

Almost half of the respondents to a recent Cisco survey said their companies would never authorize employees to bring their own devices to work to access corporate data and applications. Yet more than half - 57% -- said that some employees do so without the blessing of their employer or its IT department.

This disconcerting data is from a Cisco commissioned survey of 1,500 IT managers and executives in the US, Canada, UK, France, Germany and Spain to determine attitudes, fears and hopes for tablets in the workplace.  2012 is seen as a year in which enterprise-grade tablet computing is expected to grow.

Even though half of those surveyed said their companies would prohibit it, half also said the number of employees bringing their own devices to work is on the rise. And using personal devices without consent was highest in the US, at 64%, and lowest in Germany, with 49%.

Access to company servers via tablets and personal devices is a "huge problem," respondents report, and 44% say that attempting to keep track of them distracts IT from other important projects. Forty-eight percent of all IT managers surveyed agree that access to company applications should be restricted for all employees using personal devices.

The US has the most experience managing tablets; maybe that's why 75% of US IT managers said new rules must be established around security and device usage.

All these warnings come when table demand is on the rise. The US and France both say that a tablet is requested by 21% of the workforce, tops in the survey. In Spain, meanwhile, 90% of IT managers believe the tablet will become more popular in the next two years.

And usage? Tablets are "significantly more prevalent" among salespeople in Germany than in all other countries, the Cisco survey found. Senior executives are most likely to be issued a tablet in the US and least likely to be issued one in the UK.

But tablet adoption and issuance is still a fraction of that of smartphones: IT departments globally say employees place one tablet request for every three smartphone requests today.

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