Corporate IT departments in the United States are becoming less wary of staff bringing their personal devices to work, a Cisco (CSCO.O) study showed, although security remains a top concern.
Among 600 IT and business executives questioned by Cisco's consulting arm 95 percent said they support employees bringing and using personal devices in the workplace in some way, Cisco's Internet Solutions Business group (ISBG) said on Wednesday.
Corporate IT departments have been slow to embrace the trend dubbed 'Bring your own device' (BYOD) because of potential security risks.
While corporate IT departments have systems in place to ensure desktop security and to prevent data loss over the Internet or through email, mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets or laptops that can connect with external networks pose different security challenges.
Despite those challenges the study found that 84 percent of respondents now not only allow employee-owned devices, but also provide some level of support while 36 percent provide full support for employee-owned devices.
"IT is saying yes to BYOD, before it was saying hands off," Sujai Hajela, general manager of Cisco's wireless networking unit, said.
Nevertheless, he said, "data protection and security is the number one concern."
That's where Cisco and a number of rivals such as Juniper Networks (JNPR.N), Hewlett Packard (HPQ.N) or Avaya come in with services that help companies manage and secure personal mobile devices used by employees.
Cisco itself allows staff to bring their own devices for work and said it found employees are willing to pay to use their private device at work.
"The typical Cisco employee who chooses a personal device at work pays, on average, a $600 premium to do so," Cisco's ISBG said.
(Reporting By Nicola Leske; Editing by Bernard Orr)