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Study: Organizations lack BYOD policies, employees lack awareness

Despite a large number of organizations expressing concern over bring-your-own-device (BYOD), many IT departments are yet to take significant steps to discuss best security practices with employees.

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Study: Organizations lack BYOD policies, employees lack awareness

byod, employee education, mobile device management


Despite a large number of organizations expressing concern over bring-your-own-device (BYOD), many IT departments are yet to take significant steps to discuss best security practices with employees. A recent survey by risk and compliance services company Coalfire found that 49 percent of respondents' IT departments have failed to discuss mobile or cybersecurity with them.

Other key findings include:

• 84 percent use the same device in their personal lives and at work.
• 47 percent have no passcode on their mobile phones
• 36 percent reuse passwords
• 51 percent reported that their companies don't have remote wiping capabilities

While the survey highlighted current problems with mobile device security, there are actions organizations can take based on this data to protect critical data, even in light of the growing BYOD trend.

Education and MDM are critical for mobile device security
The key findings of the survey highlighted a need for organizations to enhance two factors: Improved employee education when it comes to best practices and potential threats, and mobile device management (MDM) technology to give organizations solutions such as remote wiping.

"The BYOD trend is not slowing down, and while it has many benefits, it’s also introducing a number of new security risks that may be foreign to many companies," said Rick Dakin, CEO and Chief Security Strategist with Coalfire. "The results of this survey demonstrate that companies must do much more to protect their critical infrastructure as employees work from their own mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones, in the workplace. Companies need to have security and education policies in place that protect company data on personal devices."

Mobile device management lessons learned
A recent Computerworld article echoed the sentiments expressed by Dakin. However, the article discussed the MDM issue in light of successful BYOD deployments. For example, U.K. utility company Severn Trent has mobilized 2,000 field workers over the past five years. While workers are out in the field repairing critical infrastructure, they are able to access the utility's centralized resource planning and scheduling system - this allows workers to quickly identify where their next job is, as well as document when they arrive or reschedule as necessary. Fully leveraging the advantages of enterprise mobility the way Severn Trent has may require companies to reevaluate their technology solutions. According to Nick McQuire, a Research Director for Enterprise Mobility at analyst IDC, companies will need to improve their use of MDM tools.

"Companies rarely use the right technology to enable what they want," said McQuire, who was quoted in the article. "Our research shows only a fifth of companies are using proper device management."

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