Workers May Be Biggest Threat to Mobile Security

By Tony Kontzer  |  Posted 2014-05-07 Email Print this article Print

With more workers than ever accessing sensitive work data on their mobile devices, it would seem that protecting data in a BYOD (bring-your-own-device) environment would be a top priority. Unfortunately, that's not always the case. Mobile security provider Absolute Software recently released the results of a survey, conducted in November, 2013, of 750 U.S. employees who use their mobile devices for work, and these disturbing findings surfaced: Nearly one-fourth of the workers didn't even know if their company had policies to deal with lost phones. Almost one in six consider their personal data priceless, but none of the respondents characterized work data that way. In addition, more than one-third of those who'd lost a work phone said they faced no consequences as a result. What's more, nearly three out of five respondents who had lost phones said they didn't even change their security habits as a result. Clearly, it behooves employers to do a better job of communicating just how critical it is to protect the data residing on mobile devices. "If firms don't set clear policies that reflect the priority of corporate data security, they can't expect employees to make it a priority on their own," says Tim Williams, Absolute's director of product management. "Clear policies, articulated properly to employees, will ensure that the entire company, not just IT, unites against mobile data loss."

Tony has been writing about technology and business for nearly 20 years and currently freelances from his home in the San Francisco Bay Area. Having spent the dot-com boom and bust years in Silicon Valley, he's had a front-row seat for the evolution of the technologies that have been the foundation of IT-powered business—from the growth of client/server computing, through the birth of the commercial Internet, to the emergence of cloud computing and social media. He has been a regular contributor to CIO Insight and Baseline Magazine since 2007, and he posts frequently on CIO Insight's BizTech 3.0 blog. A 1988 graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism, Tony spends his spare time relaxing with his wife, playing with his two sons, tinkering around his home in Albany, Calif., and, when time allows, playing saxophone and traveling. His somewhat infrequent Twitter posts can be found at

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