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UK business not taking mobile security seriously, survey shows

Warwick Ashford

UK businesses are not taking mobile security seriously even though a growing number of employees are working remotely, a survey shows.

While 75% of organisations allow mobiles to connect to the corporate network, less than 10% of IT managers and chief technology officers polled see mobile security as a priority, according to the poll commissioned by Samsung UK.

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Most respondents ranked mobile security as less important than facilitating flexible working and improving company hardware and software.

This is despite the fact that roughly half the organisations polled have had handsets lost or stolen in the past 12 months, with almost 10% admitting that more than 200 handsets were involved.

The survey also revealed that a quarter of the businesses polled had incurred costs of more than £15,000 in the past year after mobile security incidents, with 11% reporting losses of more than £25,000.

However, almost of third of chief technology officers polled admitted that they did not know how many mobile handsets were lost or stolen, and more than a third did not know how many mobile-related security incidents had taken place in the past year.

The survey results come just a week after the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that the number of people working from home has risen to its highest level since records began in 1998.

According to the ONS report covering the first three months of 2014, there were 4.2 million UK home workers, with 1.4 million employed by a company or organisation.

“Businesses need to make sure their security keeps up with the increasing use of mobile devices,” said Graham Long, vice-president of the enterprise business team at Samsung UK & Ireland.

“With more and more employees using their own personal smartphones and tablets for work, neglecting security can be a very expensive mistake to make,” he said.

"The challenge for businesses and IT decision makers, said Long, is to embrace new ways of working but ensure all devices are highly secure and efficient."

In an attempt to tap into the mobile security market, Samsung launched its Knox enterprise mobile security platform for Android at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2013.

According to report published by security firm F-Secure in April, nearly all new mobile threats in the first quarter of 2014 targeted Android users.

Knox allows the use of biometric software and dual "personalities" to be set up on a smartphone to allow one handset to function as two separate devices, keeping the data from each contained and secure.

At MWC 2014, Samsung announced Knox enterprise mobility management (EMM), which supports non-Samsung devices, is a cloud-based mobile device management (MDM) service.

Within this, the Knox marketplace allows firms to purchase apps with can then be rolled out throughout the enterprise.

Knox is aimed at businesses of all sizes as well as governments, and has recently been approved for use by UK government departments.


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