Personal mobile policies lacking in IT

Just 23% of IT departments in the UK have a strategy for managing the use of personal devices on their corporate networks, according to new research

The majority of IT departments might accept employees are using their tablets and smartphones in the workplace, but less than a quarter have policies to control it.

This was the finding of new research published by LANDesk today. Of the 200 IT professionals the software firm surveyed, 60% said they were aware personal devices accessed the network at one time or another, whilst 43% said they could identify when the products were logged on.

However, despite the level of awareness of mobile devices, only 23% had policies in place to govern the use of mobile phones or tablets. This led to low confidence in managing the devices, with only 25% feeling they could stop viruses transferring from the personal products to the corporate environment.

When it came to so-called ‘smart devices’ overall, a massive 89% said they were concerned or very concerned about preventing viruses hitting the network and 91% were concerned or very concerned about the safety of corporate data.

How long does anyone think this precarious situation can be sustained?

Andy Baldin, vice-president in EMEA, LANDesk

“How long does anyone think this precarious situation can be sustained?” said Andy Baldin, vice-president in EMEA for LANDesk. “We’ve seen company after company lose confidential data and have delivery of their core services interrupted through security breaches, even when policies are in place.”

“In the area of mobility, our survey suggests that the stable door is not just unlatched; it’s been left wide open.  A catastrophic corporate security breach via an employee's personal mobile device is only a matter of time. IT departments failing to take mobile device security seriously will look worse than ridiculous when the hammer falls.”

A large number of companies are beginning to roll out mobile devices owned by the business – as much as 80% according to the research – but the numbers were still worrying, with just 47% saying they could tell when a corporate device logged onto the network.

The ability to secure these devices was also mediocre as only 51% said they could remotely wipe data from lost or stolen devices and 47% could access control settings on the device remotely.

“The use of smart devices in the workplace is only going to become more prevalent, device types will fragment further and security risks will keep getting more complex,” said Baldin. “IT departments must be able to manage their users, regardless of device, and, given we’re discussing mobility, they ought to be able to service them from anywhere.”

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