More than 60 per cent of Canadian firms plan to support BlackBerry

Despite the flagging fortunes of Research in Motion, 61 per cent of Canadian companies plan to continue supporting the BlackBerry OS for in-house employee use – at least for now.

The finding is part of a new Citrix Systems survey of bring your owndevice (BYOD) practices and policies among 1,900 senior IT managers in19 countries including Canada.

That puts the BlackBerry OS in second spot behind Apple’s iOS, whichgarnered support from 71 per cent of Canadian firms. Rounding out theCanadian responses, 52 per cent of businesses plan to support Androidand 45 per cent plan to support Windows Mobile.

Canadian firms are more likely tooffer continued BlackBerry OS support than their global counterparts.(Photo: Shutterstock

Canadian firms signaled the third highest level of planned BlackBerryOSsupport among all 19 countries surveyed, topped only by 73 per centsupport in the UK and 63 per cent in India. (The global average was 39per cent.)

But that Canadian enterprise support level may be fleeting, cautionedMichael Murphy, area vice-president, sales and country manager forCanada at Citrix. Although current support for BlackBerry remains highin the Canadian enterprise, Murphy said it has less to do withpatriotism and more to do with two other factors: BlackBerry is stillseen as more secure than other operating systems, and many businessesare simply waiting out the current life cycle of their BlackBerrydeployments before moving onto iOS or other mobile platforms.

“There might be some patriotism but at the end of the day, verylittle,” Murphy said. “Organizations do like the security aspect ofBlackBerry and the control it has afforded these mostly corporate owneddevices. But as BYOD becomes more prevalent, more people will choosetheir own device.  But when you look at any technology that’sheld the top market share, it doesn’t decline overnight. When peoplehave a BlackBerry they have it for two to four years and I don’t thinkwe’re anywhere near the end of that cycle.”

In other Canadian-specific results, 35 per cent of Canadian firms witha BYOD policy said they adopted one due to a specific security breachor risk evaluation. Yet based on the top two reasons given by firms foradopting BYOD policies, such policies are clearly being driven by staffrealities, not security fears: 56 per cent of firms said they adopted apolicy “in response to employees using their own devices,” while 54 percent said they formulated a policy upon “request from employees.”

Security does play a big role in how easily Canadian firms can put BYODpolicies into practice, however. Asked which challenges they’ve facedin introducing such policies, 59 per cent said challenges aroundsecurity concerns, followed by challenges involving compliance and dataprivacy standards (named by 50 per cent) and the ability to understandand plan for potential legal issues (cited by 47 per cent).

Overall, Canadians are lagging behind Americans when it comes toenterprise BYOD policy adoption. Although 34 per cent of Canadian firmsalready have a formal policy in place – easily topping the globalaverage of 24 per cent – that’s way lower than the 51 per cent of U.S.businesses that have jumped on board the BYOD policy train.

“I think Canadian companies are a little more conservative and cautious(than U.S. firms) as we approach things,” Murphy said. “There areconcerns around information security and data privacy, and our(Canadian) standards tend to be a little higher around privacy,” hesaid, noting that Canada’s privacy laws are more complex than in theU.S. because they vary from province to province.

Christine WongChristineWong is a Staff Writer at ITBusiness.ca and CDN. E-mail her at cwong@itbusiness.ca,connect on ,follow her on Twitter,and join in the conversation on the IT BusinessFacebook Page.

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