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The final results of a survey by server and desktop virtualization specialist Citrix Systems found 56 percent of companies surveyed would buy Apple iPads for work, with 80 percent planning to buy an iPad for business use. The numbers suggest high interest that both individuals and business have for using the iPad as a business tool. In addition, high support from IT allowing personal iPads in the workplace indicates that businesses are also planning to allow iPads in the office as well to put them to work.

The informal survey was completed by 558 individuals who came to the Citrix web site and had an interest in the iPad. The company’s vice president of community and solutions development, Chris Fleck, noted this means they were predominantly Citrix customers who “understand the capability to safely enable access to company apps and data in the data center.”

Eighty-eight percent of those surveyed said they would primarily use iPad applications for productivity, with 21 planning on using applications not supported by Safari, Apple’s Web browser. On the activities side, 88 percent said they plan to use the iPad for email, 77 percent plan to view, edit or create documents, 55 percent said they would use it for online meetings, and 52 percent said if they could access business info and dashboards they would.

In the categories of business benefits, 74 percent cited improved productivity, 80 percent cited increased mobility, 60 percent noted safe access to data and apps and 35 percent said they thought it would lower overall business expenses. “I suspect that business and IT support for the iPad at non-Citrix customers would be significantly lower due to security concerns, end point management and lack of access to business applications,” Fleck said.

Concerns over the security strength of the iPad and the hazards of bring your own computer (BYOC) policies may indeed be growing, according to a sepearte survey from WebTitan, a Web filtering service provider. With devices like the iPad increasingly being used to access a growing social media culture, the company found in an audit of 200 SMBs worldwide that almost all allowed Internet access and some social networking applications. In the workplace almost half (49 per cent) admitted they had not taken even basic steps towards a social media policy such as deploying a Web filter.
“As business embraces social networking as a way to propagate messages and build their brands the line dividing personal and company data is becoming increasingly blurred,” said Alastair Purdy, partner at business law firm Purdy FitzGerald Solicitors. “The important thing is to take steps to protect yourself or your company as much as possible in advance. Failure to do so will potentially leave the SMB sector with significant legal issues over data ownership.”