Regular readers know that I have been long hammering on about how the future of the cloud is mobile and it appears that some new research by Forrester is backing me up. 

In a blog post Forrester analyst Frank Gillett says their latest polling of more than 9,900 information workers in 17 countries about all of the devices they use for work, including personal devices they use for work purposes it turns out that they use an average of about 2.3 devices.

Personal Cloud

About 74% of the information workers in the survey used two or more devices for work — and 52% used three or more! This means that the typical information worker has to figure out how to manage their information from more than one device. So they’ll be increasingly interested in work systems and personal cloud services that enable easy multidevice access, such as Dropbox, Box, SugarSync, Google Docs/Apps, Windows Live, and Apple iCloud says Gillett.

Gillett continues: “Microsoft’s share of OSes on shipping PCs is still far above 90% and declining only incrementally in the face of growing Apple Mac share. Microsoft’s share of PCs in companies is even higher. But seen through the eyes of the workers, not IT, Microsoft is down to about two-thirds of the devices they use to get work done.

“With the strong growth of mobile devices — personal or issued by IT — and Microsoft’s minuscule share of mobile devices, that means that Microsoft’s share of the OS on devices used for work will continue to erode.

Workers Choice

“Microsoft will continue to have the largest share of device OS by far, but it’s no longer the only game in town. And the buying dynamic has shifted: Info workers choose — and mostly pay for — 73% of the smartphones they use for work and 66% of the tablets. It turns out that they also choose, and mostly pay for, more than half of the laptops and even about one-quarter of the desktop PCs they use for work.”

So let’s sit back and take this in. According to Forrester, if I read this correctly, a heck of a lot of employees are not only choosing and paying for how they access work data but also deciding how and where that data is stored away from the working network. At first sight this seems like a nightmare scenario for data security as the potential for theft or just lost data is phenomenal.

A simple bit of pre-planning from a savvy employer will, I believe, nip a lot of the problems in the bud. For example, allowing employees to chose a sync and collaborate service of their own choice is fine proving they decide on one rather than two, three or more. Ensuring that security on their devices, ie SIM PIN login and password protection at directory level is essential.

Bring Your Own Cloud for SMBs is a great opportunity proving some forethought has gone into it. Do you think I am wrong?