Mobile devices increasing security risks

by CXOtoday Staff    Jan 23, 2012

Mobile devices connecting to the corporate network has doubled in two years, with 71 percent businesses stating that this has increased security incidents, reveals Check Point

Smartphones and tablet PCs continue to proliferate in corporate environments, presenting significant business benefits such as increased work efficiency and easy access to resources.

While businesses are steadily accepting this trend, IT administrators are struggling to secure these devices and operating systems resulting in data loss and rise in mobile threats, according to a study.

A report from Check Point Software Technologies, a provider of security solutions, shows that 71 percent of businesses believe mobile devices have caused an increase in security incidents, citing significant concerns about the loss and privacy of sensitive information stored on employee devices.

The survey found that many of these mobile devices store sensitive customer and business data. Seventy nine percent respondents stored corporate email, 47 percent store customer data while 38 percent stored login credentials for internal databases or business applications.

The study said that the number of personal mobile devices connecting to the corporate network has more than doubled in the past two years. According to Check Point consumerization of IT will be among the top concerns for CIOs this year.

“The explosion of mobile devices connecting to the corporate network often creates greater opportunities for data loss and increased security management complexity. We anticipate this trend will continue to rise in 2012, encouraging enterprises to enforce the proper remote access policies to minimize the frequency, risk and costs associated with securing the mobile enterprise,” said Juliette Sultan, head of global marketing at Check Point Software Technologies.

Additional findings of the survey revealed that approximately 94 percent of businesses surveyed have an increased number of personal mobile devices connecting to the corporate network.

Apple with 30 percent of users emerged as the most used mobile device connecting to corporate networks followed by BlackBerry at 29 percent and Android with 21 percent. Forty three percent of respondents said that Android devices pose a larger security risk to the mobile enterprise.

Majority of businesses (62 percent) believe the lack of security awareness among employees as the greatest factor impacting mobile data loss, followed by mobile web browsing (61 percent), insecure WiFi connectivity (59 percent), lost or stolen devices (58 percent) and malicious mobile application downloads (57 percent).

The study titled The Impact of Mobile Devices on Information Security, surveyed over 750 IT and security professionals of all sizes and across multiple industries located in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Germany and Japan.