• Nearly half of firms identify mobile workers as key security threat

    Nearly half of firms identify mobile workers as key security threat

    Nearly half of firms identify mobile workers as key security threat

    Nearly half of firms identify mobile workers as key security threat

    • Many businesses need to be doing more to ensure sensitive data is protected when it is accessed on mobile devices, as these gadgets have been identified as one of the biggest threats to firms' data security.

      This is according to a recent study conducted by Vanson Bourne on behalf of Apricorn, which found 70 per cent of IT decision-makers agreed that the fight to secure corporate data is an "ongoing battle".

      In particular, individuals using mobile devices were identified as a key threat. Nearly half of respondents (48 per cent) stated that their employees were one of their biggest risks, while 44 per cent expect their organisation to be exposed to a breach as a result of mobile workers.

      What's more, one in three respondents said they have already experienced a data loss or security breach as a direct result of mobile working, while seven out of ten added they cannot be certain that information will be adequately protected when employees are working remotely or via mobile devices.

      Jon Fielding, managing director at Apricorn EMEA, said that while data protection is far from straightforward, companies have a responsibility to their customers to follow basic best practices.

      For example, protecting data when it's viewed outside the office is a must. It is all too easy for an employee to reveal sensitive data if they are using their smartphone in a public area - an issue that could be solved with the right tools such as privacy screens, as well as improved user education.

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

      Such concerns will be particularly important from next year, once the EU General Data Protection Regulation comes into force. This will greatly increase the potential fines for data breaches, yet it is something many firms are still unprepared for.

      Apricorn's survey found almost a quarter of companies (24 per cent) are still unaware of the GDPR or its implications, while a further 17 per cent are familiar with the regulations, but have no plan for ensuring compliance.

      Therefore, it will be vital for companies to put in place policies and processes to ensure data is protected whenever it is viewed outside the office, and this should cover all potential risks, from mandating antimalware tools to ensuring it is impossible for information to be leaked via 'visual hacking', when sensitive data is displayed on a screen to anyone who may be nearby.