Managing Mobile Workers Too Complex & Expensive for Many Businesses

IT decision makers still believe mobile workers are putting their organizations at significant risk of data breaches, new research has shown.

The study, carried out by secure storage firm Apricorn, found that 29% of organizations have suffered a data breach or loss as a direct result of mobile working. Moreover, 44% expect mobile workers to expose the business to data breaches.

The problem seems to stem from a lack of security policies for mobile workers and devices. Over half (53%) of respondents said managing all the technology needed by mobile workers is too complex, and 35% say the technology needed to secure mobile working is too expensive to use.

Additionally, Apricorn’s research found that one in 10 companies with over 3000 workers do not have a security policy that covers mobile workers or BYOD. What's more, 10% of the companies surveyed had no policies covering removable media such as portable hard drives or USBs. A quarter of those companies who do have suitable securities in place admitted to having no way of enforcing them, which Apricorn says is like having no policy whatsoever.

It seems that from a security point of view, mobile workers represent something of a blind spot for IT. Around 70% of respondents said they cannot be certain that their corporate data is secure when employees work remotely or on mobile devices. That’s even if the business has security policies that specifically cover mobile workers or data used beyond the company’s perimeter.

“Whilst data protection is not a straightforward task, companies, particularly those in the private sector, are trusted by their customers to follow basic best practices. Despite this, 38% say they have no control over where company data goes and where it is stored. Organizational struggles with enforcing data protection regulations and compliance standards are putting confidential data at risk,” said Jon Fielding, managing director, Apricorn EMEA.

What’s interesting to note is that there does seems to be awareness of the issues and a desire to keep business data secure. Over half of respondents (57%) said their mobile workers are willing to comply with security policies, but the technology simply isn’t in place.

The survey also highlighted a fear that this problem could get worse: Younger workers may be far more tech-savvy than older employees, but they are also far less likely to take security seriously. That’s a recurring theme when it comes to mobile security, as other surveys have found.

“The repercussions associated with a data breach are huge, both in terms of financial and reputational damage. Regulations are put in place to protect the data, its owner and the company responsible for it,” Fielding concluded.

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