Nearly nine out of 10 companies are seeing employees use personal phones, tablets and computers at work — marking a sharp rise in the trend known as the “consumerization of IT,” according to a study released this morning by Avanade, the Seattle-based technology consulting company.

The study debunks the myth that companies are resisting personal devices at work. And maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise: Executives say the biggest benefit is the ability for employees to work from anywhere, with 42 percent of respondents to the Avandade survey saying that the trend has made their employees more willing to work after hours.

Increasingly, the study shows, employees are using their personal devices not just for checking email and social networks, but also for work-related tasks such as customer relationship management, time and expense tracking, and enterprise resource planning.

But the trend isn’t without risks.

“Security measures have not kept pace with this trend,” the company says in a summary of the findings. “In fact, 55 percent of global companies report they have already experienced a security breach as a result of personal technologies flooding the enterprise. IT decision makers are particularly concerned with these risks, with 81 percent reporting their IT infrastructure needs some improvement in order to address these security concerns.”

The Android phone is the single most popular device in the workplace, but taken as a whole, including notebooks, Apple is the most common brand that employees bring into the workplace. BlackBerry is also in the top three, according to the study.

The findings are based on a survey of more than 600 executives in 17 countries. Avanade, which commissioned the study, specializes in Microsoft technologies.

Read the full report here.

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  • Guest

    Congratulations to Apple on winning the race to the workplace! Now I hope the next battle will be to services. I already frequently check my Gmail and do my Googlechat at the desk, but I think it would be better if my company replaced its horribly bulky Microsoft mail system with Gmail.

    Actually, I’m still coming up with ideas: why does my company need a mail server at all? We could just forward our incoming mail to our Gmail accounts and enjoy full integration. I personally have more than 4 GB of quota left.

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