Smartphones pose “biggest cyber risk” to businesses, report warns

BYOD

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The biggest IT security risk to businesses is the use of smartphones in the workplace, a report based on the habits of 5,000 users worldwide has found.

Offices which permit employees to “Bring Their Own Devices” face a doubled threat – the second-biggest threat to IT security is third-party apps on smartphones, as reported by PC Advisor.

The information comes from the Q1 2014 Good Mobility Index report, which reports on smartphone usage by tracking the habits of volunteers as they use their mobile devices in the workplace.

Good Mobility’s John Dasher said that data was put at risk because smartphones were so powerful it was often easier for employees to use mobile devices for work tasks, rather than PCs, according to ArmNet’s report.

This could result, for instance, in sensitive data being stored on mobile devices, rather than machines within an office.

IT departments are taking notice however – and insisting that employees use “managed” smartphones in the workplace, with a 57% increase in such devices in the last quarter. Such devices allow IT managers to, for instance, wipe corporate data remotely, according to Market Watch’s report.

Other business-oriented apps such as customized, secured mobile printing apps saw an increase of more than 100% in adoption in the past quarter. Good Mobility sells its own secure solutions for workforces – and credits the fast adoption rate with an increasingly mobile workforcrce, which require secure ways to work outside the office.

Secured hnndsets, while an ideal solution, may not always be practical, some experts have warned. In a speech reported by We Live Security, Rolf von Roessing, ex-head of security trade body ISACA said that it was difficult to ‘police’ this isssue – and many unsecured devices can ‘sneak in’.

“For effective protection, security professionals need access to mobile operating systems, but this is not always possible and consequently 30% to 40% of devices are under the radar,” said von Roessing.

“In the light of bring your own device (BYOD) programmes, it is more important than ever for end users to be aware of the risks involved,” Roessing said. “Organizations need to set aside adequate budgets to deal with these challenges comprehensively, otherwise all efforts will simply be a waste of money because of all the security gaps,” he said.

Author Rob Waugh, We Live Security

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