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Mobile Devices In The Workplace Impact On It Departments

As mobile adoption in the enterprise space increases, so too do the security concerns for IT departments. Driven largely by the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement, an increasing number of mobile devices connect to corporate networks. While the mobile trend has many benefits, including increased employee productivity and streamlined communications, it has also led to added security concerns for those responsible for corporate information security.

According to The Impact of Mobile Devices on Information Security: A Survey of IT Professionals, 67 percent of IT respondents reported their organizations allow devices owned personally by employees, contractors, or others, to connect to their corporate network. More telling, nearly half of these respondents said they have more than five times as many personal mobile devices on their networks as they did just two years ago.

Securing corporate information and managing access from mobile devices to the corporate network are amongst the biggest challenges of BYOD for IT departments, however, and a bit surprisingly, 63 percent of the companies that reported allowing personally owned devices to connect to their corporate network, do not manage the corporate information that resides there - this is especially true of companies with less than 1,000 employees.

As one might expect, with the increase in devices connected to corporate networks, there is also an increase in the types of information, including sensitive business data, stored on mobile devices, such as company emails, employee, customer and partner contact information, customer sales data, and internal company information.

It is this type of company information being lost or stolen, due to such things as an employee's device being lost or stolen, or a malicious application downloaded to the device, that rank as the highest concerns for security incidents. If one of these incidents does occur - 79 percent of the participants reported a mobile security incident in the last year, it is quite costly for the enterprise. The majority of those that reported an incident spent between $10,000 to more than $500,000 to resolve the situation.

Also of note, over 60 percent of those surveyed, said careless employees pose a greater security risk than cybercriminals that are intentionally trying to steal corporate information. This also brings to mind the need to physically protect the device, from employees dropping, spilling, and bumping their phone or tablet. Lost productivity due to an employee being without their device while it is fixed or replaced can be extremely costly and result in lost deals and missed deadlines.

Given that mobile device usage and BYOD will continue to play an increasing role in day-to-day work life, this all brings to light the need for companies to prioritize mobile device security by implementing security technology, developing specific mobility/BYOD policies, and raising awareness of the mobile device security policy throughout the organization.

According to The Impact of Mobile Devices on Information Security: A Survey of IT Professionals, recently conducted by Dimensional Research and based on a global survey of IT professionals based in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany and Japan, the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement is growing dramatically and affecting enterprises of all sizes; corporate information on a mobile device is a more important asset than the device itself; and mobile security incidents are costly, even for SMBs.

Key Findings

  • Increasing numbers of mobile devices connect to corporate networks
    - 93 percent have mobile devices connecting to their corporate networks
    - 67 percent allow personal devices to connect to corporate networks
  • BYOD grows quickly & creates problems for organizations. Among companies that allow personal devices to connect to corporate networks:
    - 96 percent say number of personal devices connecting to corporate networks is growing
    - 45 percent have more than five times as many personal mobile devices as they had two years ago, an increase from 36 percent last year
    - 63 percent do not manage corporate information on personal devices
    - 93 percent face challenges adopting BYOD policies
    - Securing corporate information cited as greatest BYOD challenge (67 percent)
  • Customer information on mobile devices causes security concerns
    - 53 percent report there is sensitive customer information on mobile devices, up from 47 percent last year
    - 94 percent indicate lost or stolen customer information is a grave concern in a mobile security incident
  • Mobile security incidents are very expensive
    - 79 percent report mobile security incidents in the past year
    - 52 percent of large companies say that cost of mobile security incidents last year exceeded $500,000
    - 45 percent of businesses with less than 1,000 employees reported mobile security incident costs exceeding $100,000
    - 49 percent cite Android as the platform with the greatest perceived security risk (up from 30 percent last year), compared to Apple, Windows Mobile, and BlackBerry - 66 percent say careless employees are a greater security risk than cybercriminals