British firms are vulnerable to data leakage from insecure mobile workers, according to research from Dimension Data.
More than one-third of mobile workers are left to their own means to secure IT while away from their desks, and another 5% say no one is responsible for securing information outside the office, the study found.
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Alastair Broom, Dimension Data's director of security products, said the problem is not confined to the UK. A recent presentation at a Harvard University privacy symposium showed that 73% of companies have had a loss of data in the past two years, mainly due to the transfer of information to mobile devices. The most serious was the 26 million records lost by the US Veterans' Administration.
The study found 54% of UK workers who use a PC at work also work remotely. Just under one third share the remote computer with at least one other person in their household, and 40% copy work data onto USB memory devices. Just over half access company information from home and a third do it from public places.
Almost a fifth (18%) have disclosed their work passwords to at least one other person, and nearly a quarter say that their organisation's security policy is not communicated very well or does not exist.
"With compliance biting deeper, organisations will be under increasing pressure to control where their data is and audit its access and usage," Broom said.