Mobile security breaches impacted 68% of organizations

Mobile security breaches have affected 68 percent of organizations in the last 12 months, according to a new global study from BT. Despite this, organizations are still not taking sufficient security measures to protect themselves against mobile threats, such as lost or stolen devices and malware infections.

Around half of respondents’ organizations who had suffered a mobile security breach, experienced more than four incidents in the last year.

The research explores the attitudes of IT decision makers towards security within their organizations. It shows that uptake of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and COPE (Corporately Owned Personally-Enabled) devices is very high, with 93 percent of organizations allowing employees to use these devices for work purposes.

However, only four in 10 organizations surveyed actively have a BYOD policy. In this environment, device security is falling by the wayside: only a quarter of respondents felt that their company had sufficient resources in place to prevent a mobile security breach. Surprisingly, three in 10 (29 percent) do not have password protection, and less than half (45 percent) report that their organization has IT security training for all.

The report highlights that while 33 percent of personal or corporate owned mobile devices have full access to the internal networks or contain sensitive client information, a third of organizations do not have any kind of enforceable mobile security policy.

For those that do, the average length of time between reviewing mobile security measures is nine months. The infrequency of this is cause for concern, as many IT decision makers believe that the rate of malware infections will be on the rise in the next three to five years.

Security breaches, such as lost or stolen devices, malware infections such as viruses, spyware, and Trojan Horses, or the loss or theft of company or customer data, have had a major impact on business processes, including taking up valuable help desk time and other IT resources. They have reduced employee productivity, day to day activity and even customer experience, as well as causing reputational damage. Some have even resulted in hefty fines.

Mark Hughes, president of BT Security, said: “Today’s threat landscape shifts very quickly so it is important for organizations to start with security in mind, rather than add it as an afterthought. This will ensure that security processes develop with them, and not after them. This makes the task of being security-led much more straightforward.”

Staff attitudes remain the biggest threat to data security. The report reveals that 74 percent are not taking the security of devices seriously. However, delving further into this, it becomes clear that this attitude trickles down from the top: sixty-nine percent of IT decision makers do not believe their CEO takes security very seriously. This is concerning, as security programs need to have complete top down buy-in in order to be successful, with everyone from the CEO right throughout the organization taking part.

Mark Hughes said: “If CEOs are passionate about making security practices work, then these will inevitably become an intrinsic part of people’s lives. Problems usually arise when people don’t understand the risks and the impact that neglecting security could cause for the business, as well as for them personally. A security breach could cause a share price drop and reputational brand damage. This means that security is everyone’s job.”

Don't miss