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May 20, 2015

Enterprises face ‘very real threat’ from employee mobile use

Amicus ITS reveals that more and more employees are using their own devices to access sensitive information.

By Alexander Sword

Workers are now regularly accessing confidential work data from private mobile phones, according to research.

The survey by Amicus ITS revealed that almost 60 percent of respondents now use a personally owned mobile device for work purposes.

Mobile phones were the biggest category of personally used devices, with 37.3 percent of people now using their mobile phone. This was followed by personal laptops at 32.6 percent.

In addition, 23 percent used a private desktop computer and 22.5 percent used a personally owned tablet device.

Enterprises embracing mobility have a choice between bring your own device (BYOD) and corporate-owned personally enabled (COPE) policies.

Head of security and governance at Amicus ITS, JP Norman said: "Nearly all IT managers should be concerned about the impact of mobile security, with lost or stolen information a very real threat to most organisations. Indeed, IT security incidents and high impact corporate breaches are never far from the news.

"With today’s inherently mobile workforce many organisations’ corporate information is exposed and all too easily transferred outside of managed environments. It’s a growing problem, highlighted by our survey and the growing number of people using personal mobile devices, often with little or no security, to access often sensitive corporate information."

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Eric Aarastad, VP of Heat Software’s Unified Endpoint Management Business Unit, comments:

"Inevitably, devices will be lost or stolen. Because of this, it’s important that you have defined your policies for replacement or compensation, as well as your security protocol for protecting stolen data.

"One best practice is to ensure that you have the ability to remotely wipe all mobile devices used by employees, ensuring that sensitive data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Backup and restore capabilities can also help reduce the risk of lost data, and device location services can help locate a lost device without having to involve IT.

"Employee-owned devices may sometimes bypass inbound corporate filters, leaving them vulnerable to malware. Adding security layers to mobile devices can help prevent this, but you should anticipate resistance from your users. As always, be sure to consider legal privacy requirements before instituting security policies for personal devices.

The survey quizzed 1000 people in the UK.

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