Struggle to Secure Mobile Devices

Monday, January 23, 2012 @ 06:01 PM gHale

Employee-owned mobile devices used on corporate networks continue their rise despite well-known gaps in security, a new survey said.

Two thirds of IT executives surveyed allow the use of personal mobile devices while at work, a marked increase from two years ago, according to the report from Check Point Software, entitled “The Impact of Mobile Devices on Information Security.” The survey questioned 768 IT executives in the U.S., UK, Canada, Germany and Japan.

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Personal mobile devices also go along with conventionally-managed mobile smartphones and tablets supplied by companies themselves, with the most popular being the Apple iPhone and BlackBerry.

The security risk inherent in all this comes across in the 71 percent who believe mobile devices have increased security incidents over the last two years with 43 percent naming Android as the greatest threat.

Apple was only slightly better as 36 percent saw it as a risk. Half of respondents said they stored customer data on mobile devices with staff carelessness rather than hacking or malware posing the biggest risk to its security.

What is clear is personal mobile devices outnumber managed ones by nearly three to one on some networks, which leads security experts to ask how a company can secure so many devices that don’t belong to them.

Also throw in few personal mobile devices use encryption, there is plenty of evidence that smartphone users in particular are more susceptible to taking insecure shortcuts to save time on tiny screens.

“The explosion of mobile devices connecting to the corporate network often creates greater opportunities for data loss and increased security management complexity,” said Check Point’s Juliette Sultan.

“We anticipate this trend will continue to rise in 2012, encouraging enterprises to enforce the proper remote access policies to minimize the frequency, risk and costs associated with securing the mobile enterprise,” she said.

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