The working environment is changing; mobility is becoming more commonplace in the business world with eMarketer predicting that there will be more than 1.91 billion smartphone users worldwide in 2015. With this figure set ot rise by approximately 12.6% next year, these staggering statistics equate to every two in three people in the UK owning a smartphone.
Workers today are encouraged to use mobile phones, be it a BYOD device or a company-owned mobile, as companies look to reduce overall costs and increase productivity. Kaspersky Lab’s research certainly confirms this with 62% of business owners and employees using personal mobile devices within the workplace. However, the downside of the increasing use of mobiles is a heightened security risk – the mobile device can get lost, mislaid or stolen and that opens up the possibility of your corporate data being accessed by unauthorised users.
Sadly, employers and employees attitudes to the increased risk of security breaches in using mobile devices is not changing and security measures are not being implemented, particularly amongst SMBs. Another survey by Kaspersky revealted that 92% of respondents kept sensitive data on tablets and smartphones; six out of ten employees admit their concern about the theft of data from their mobile devices yet they do not take the relevant steps to protect their data and devices. And employers are no better; 32% of those surveyed failed to recognise the security risks to their employees using their personal mobile devices for work, holding corporate data on those devices.
It’s no longer sufficient for IT managers to look after their network perimeter, they must widen the net and implement security measures that incorporate all devices used by employees. A ‘follow-me’ policy will help to ensure that data on mobile devices are secure and should a device be compromised, lost or stolen, action can be taken to ensure that all corporate and personal data is kept secure.
Anti-malware solutions and security processes should be implemented, whether your a large corporation or a small business, will enable IT managers to control applications that employees are accessing and also allow the blocking of access if necessary, and remotely wipe any sensitive data on a mobile device should it get lost.
With the number of data security breahces on the rise, employers need to not only understand risks of using mobile devices in the workplace, they need to act now and implement rigourous security procedures to ensure their corporate and sensitive data is protected. But there is one other important factor to consider; any security measures implemented will only be as effective as the people using them. Therefore it is vital that there is effective communication with all users of mobile devices and applications; ensure they understand the risks, increase awareness amongst your staff and that they know the security processes you have in place to protect your organisation from any breaches.