Overall mobile worker preferences and behavioral characteristics across age groups and geographies are actually quite similar, making the cross-generational tech chasm in the workplace a falsehood. Such are the findings of a quarterly Mobile Workforce Report issued by Redwood Shores, Calif.-based iPass Inc., a provider of enterprise mobility services.

The survey, conducted in October, drew from the experiences of more than 1,100 mobile enterprise employees (48% from North America, 37% from Europe and 12% from Asia Pac). The resultant report included that data, along with enterprise mobile broadband usage data collected by iPass across its user base from July 1 through August 30, 2010.

The report found that personal smartphone liability played a much bigger factor on device usage than age of mobile user, which iPass classifies as somewhere around 46.

“The iPass research findings confirm the demand to connect personally-owned Apple IOS and Android devices to the corporate network is not limited to a specific age group. The MWC data surfaces that the underlying security risks are still a threat and need to be mitigated,” said JP Finnell, enterprise analyst at GigaOM Pro. “This presents an opportunity for corporate IT to jointly develop enterprise mobility policies that leverage enterprise functionality in recent releases of IOS and Android with the capabilities of third-party enterprise mobility service providers.”

Globally, smartphone penetration among mobile employees outpaced the consumer market, with 69% now using those devices for work.

The laptop is becoming the new desktop as the smartphone and tablet replace the old laptop. More than a third of mobile employees (37%) believe that a mobile device will usurp the laptop for general business purposes in 2011, and 27% believe it will be an iPad or other tablet.

The mobile employee survey also uncovered:

iPhone and Android will lead the smartphone market by 2012 among the mobile workforce.

34% of mobile employees do not use their smartphones for work if they are footing the bill – having a direct and negative impact on their productivity.

22% of mobile employees breach corporate policy using an unmanaged smartphone for work when their companies have a stricter smartphone policy in place.

“Today nearly a third of people use an unmanaged smartphone for work. Unmanaged smartphones are a significant risk to enterprises,” said Steven Wastie, SVP marketing and product management at iPass. “Twenty percent of these mobile employees have experienced a relevant security issue with their smartphone containing business data lost, stolen, infected or hacked.”


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