Popular tablet computers and smartphones, led primarily by Android devices and especially the iPhone and iPad, are showing up more and more at work as employees have become more willing to — and indeed are getting excited about — bringing their own mobile tools to the office or out into the field with them.

The Bring Your Own Device phenomenon is great news for many companies, as it can relieve them of the cost of supplying each worker with a new phone or tablet every couple of years. Beyond that, it’s also good for employees, as they are more able to access work-related information on the tools they’re already using, and comfortable with.

But it also presents a number of problems, especially related to security. Imagine a worker carrying a smartphone, an iPad, and a laptop out to a job, and expecting access to the company’s network on all three. It can be an IT headache, especially for companies sharing sensitive information with workers.

Now network tech companies like Cisco and others are starting to roll out products designed to specifically deal with the challenges presented by the move to BYOD, including identity management and single sign-on technology.

That’s good news, because it’s becoming clear that BYOD is here to stay. A survey conducted by Cisco found that 57 percent of IT managers claimed some employees are already using their own devices on their networks without consent — other studies claim that number is even higher. Three-quarters of IT managers said their companies needed to adopt new policies around security on personal mobile devices.

The BYOD issues are especially important for field service companies, where workers in the field are especially likely to carry several mobile computing tools rather than just accessing a network from a single desktop.

Cisco’s new identification service tool allows administrators to require devices to have things like a mandatory pin lock, and can deny “jailbroken” devices access to a company network, or remotely wipe data off lost or stolen devices.

Does your field service company have a security plan to address the BYOD phenomenon?

Click here to download a free whitepaper, “Five Steps to Make Field Service Profitable.”

ABOUT Ian Stewart

Avatar photoIan is a veteran journalist who has covered sports for various news outlets. Previously, he was managing editor for an electronic-book publishing company and a public relations writer.