A mere 8% of UK firms have a formal bring your own device (BYOD) policy in place, according to a survey conducted by Zenprise.

The mobile device management firm said that its survey of more than 500 IT decision makers revealed that while 39% of respondents said employees were allowed to use their own devices for work, far fewer put policies in place to govern how they are used.

It said this leaves companies dangerously exposed to the malicious or accidental leakage of sensitive corporate data.

Not enough

Even when BYOD policies are in place, businesses are not always convinced these procedures offer adequate protection against breaches, with only 31% of respondents with a policy stating they had no concerns about security.

Of everyone surveyed, only 7% said their company was able to lock down app usage, while just 5% have the means to track devices by GPS.

Matt Peachey, vice president and general manager EMEA at Zenprise, said that businesses should make it a priority to address the issue in the new year.

"With so much to gain from effective BYOD initiatives – which, when done right, can deliver many measurable business benefits as well as supporting growth and innovation – organisations cannot afford to cuts any corners when it comes to security," he said.

"Comprehensive security processes should be absolutely top-of-the-agenda for any firm looking to enable BYOD, and businesses would be wise to take a holistic approach which focuses on securing data and applications in use, as well as on the mobile devices connecting to the network.

"With the best available tools in place, incidents such as the loss of an executive's tablet can be easily mitigated by instantly wiping it clean, reducing the headache for IT and preventing the potential fall-out from a breach of corporate data."

"With all this in mind, it really is vital that organisations urgently re-address the security of enterprise mobility. Indeed, with so much at stake, this must become a top priority for modern businesses as we move into 2013."