Corporate security at risk from staff smartphones
Some interesting statistics from UK-based network security firm ITogether reveal that smartphone use is a double-edged sword for businesses in the country – improving productivity, but also increasing the risk of cyber attack.
A survey of 1,000 staff at businesses of all sizes found that 59% use their own smartphone or tablet PC while at work, with 61% of those workers connecting to corporate IT systems. However, while utilizing corporate connections, half of the workers quizzed refuse to sign their devices up to corporate security mechanisms.
But the problem doesn’t lie solely with workers. The study found that 40% of employers encourage staff to access personal accounts or social networks in the office without ensuring their network’s security.
While the most obvious step for employers might seem to be barring access to personal sites, ITogether recommends they embrace the trend to avoid alienating staff. In fact, it states employers should use social networks to inform staff about their security policies.
The flip side to the dangers of unsecured access is an increase in productivity. Just over two thirds of employees (70%) say they use their smart device for work outside office hours. The study also concludes that providing workers with handsets boosts motivation and loyalty – 65% say they would stay with a firm longer if given one of the latest smartphones or tablets.
There is also an opportunity for employers to share bandwidth and device costs with their staff. Just over half the employees quizzed said they would be prepared to go halves on the cost of buying and running a smart device.
It would be interesting to see this study replicated in other European countries, perhaps with some comparison to emerging markets where employers may not yet have developed a cohesive IT security policy.