Workers May Be Biggest Threat to Mobile Security

By Tony Kontzer
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    Who Owns Work Phones?

    Who Owns Work Phones?

    58% of employees surveyed use their own phones for work, while 42% use company-owned phones.

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."

This article was originally published on 2014-05-07
Tony has been writing about the intersection of technology and business for more than 20 years and currently freelances from the Grass Valley, Calif., home where he and his wife are raising their two boys. A 1988 graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism and regular contributor to Baseline since 2007, Tony's somewhat infrequent Twitter posts can be found at http://twitter.com/tkontzer.
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