A report by mobile phone operator Orange, together with Quocirca, has found that companies are doing a poor job of securing workers' handheld devices.
The survey of over 2,000 UK IT professionals found that one in five companies already with wide deployments of mobile devices has policies in place for mobile security. And of those that do have mobile security policies, more than 60% said their policy is not enforced.
The study found that 80% of businesses believe their employees are the main threat to mobile security, as IT departments already have tools to help secure the devices.
Users’ attitudes, which often border on the irresponsible and careless, are generally accepted to be more of a challenge than the technology. A significant percentage of companies already believe their mobile users have an irresponsible attitude to security, even among those with experience of broad usage.
One suggested reason that IT departments may not be implementing mobile security policies effectively is that handheld devices are often viewed as being cheaper, easier to replace, and of less intrinsic value than laptops. In reality, however, the corporate data they are carrying has significant value, and in many cases, such devices can access other valuable corporate data.
One policy that IT departments could use is remote management when a device is lost or stolen, remotely wiping the data on the device or rendering it unusable. Whatever policies they adopt, there is little doubt that mobile security will continue to be a major concern for organisations this year.