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Mobile Security Responsibilities: Are Employees Your Weakest Link?

Source | LinkedIn : By Carrie Maslen

It’s easy to put security responsibilities solely on the shoulders of IT. After all, they’re the ones who get paid to understand different technologies and the networks they run on.

But the truth is, IT can only do so much when it comes to mobile security. If IT goes overboard and ramps up security measures too much, employee productivity suffers. On the other hand, not implementing strict security standards leaves a significant amount of security responsibilities in the hands of employees — and that’s often a scary thought.

Why? Because employees may be the weakest link when it comes to mobile security.

What Can Happen to Company Data in Employees’ Hands?

The risk of a leak of confidential company information by employees, either intentionally or accidentally, is very real. According to a Webroot survey, 60 percent of those using a mobile device for business have either no security measures or only default features set on the phone. A lost or misplaced mobile device without a password or PIN makes it effortless for anyone who finds it to gain access to confidential company information stored on the device.

And if you think most people won’t stoop to snooping, you might be surprised. In a study by Symantec, not only were 96 percent of lost mobile devices accessed when found, but 83 percent of the time, finders accessed corporate-related apps and information. That’s a pretty disconcerting statistic.

The Real Cost of Lost or Stolen Devices

Naturally, there’s a hard cost to replacing a lost or stolen device. But often this cost isn’t as significant as other associated costs. Imagine for instance, that an employee loses their phone at an industry conference. The chances of the device falling into a competitor’s hands who’s also attending the conference are high. Now, IT must spend time and valuable resources to try to wipe the phone’s data before it’s too late.

Even more costly, though, is the chance of critical business information being leaked, such as a new product launch, details on an agreement with a key partner or other confidential information. With this kind of information in the wrong hands, your company could suffer a loss of competitive advantage or harm to its brand and reputation. You can’t even begin to put a price tag on these types of impacts.

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