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Thursday, December 05, 2013

UK businesses lack BYOD policies, secure file sharing solutions

As a recent study revealed, many U.K. businesses lack both BYOD policies and secure file sharing solutions.

Category:   Enterprise Mobility

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As smartphones and tablets are becoming increasingly commonplace, pressure is mounting on businesses around the world to develop and implement robust bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies. After all, without such initiatives in place, workers are still likely to use their personal devices for work-related purposes, but now they will do so without corporate oversight or support. This not only undermines the benefits of BYOD, but also presents a major security risk.

Unfortunately, many companies have been slow to fully embrace this trend. And as a recent study revealed, U.K. businesses are particularly struggling in this regard, with many firms lacking both BYOD policies and secure file sharing solutions.

Lagging behind BYOD
The study, conducted by Accellion, looked into BYOD and related policies among a variety of European businesses, IT Pro Portal reported. Ultimately, the study determined that these organizations are not taking sufficient steps to protect their sensitive data, especially in regard to mobile environments.

"Dealing with the whirlwind pace of mobile innovation is not just a security challenge for IT, it demands board-level scrutiny," said Paul Steiner, managing director for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Accellion, the news source reported. "Employees are now savvy enough technologically to seek out their own solutions, but then businesses must deal with the fallout when these solutions cause security breaches."

Only by instituting a robust, thorough BYOD policy, complete with guidelines and resources upon which employees can rely on can businesses ensure that this trend provides a competitive advantage, rather than undermining security.

According to the study, U.K.-based firms in particular are struggling in this area. The news source reported that nearly three-fourths of participating U.K. businesses do not have formal BYOD policies in place, and are therefore opening themselves up to the risk of a mobile-caused data breach.

File sharing problems
Furthermore, the study found that U.K. businesses are not taking sufficient steps to provide secure file sharing options to their employees. Approximately one-third of firms have yet to deploy such tools for their workers. Even worse, more than 20 percent of U.K.-based organizations actively encourage workers to rely upon Dropbox and other consumer-grade ad-hoc file sharing solutions.

This last statistic is particularly troubling because, as countless firms have discovered, box file sharing solutions simply do not have robust, built-in security. While they may prove sufficient for consumers' personal information, businesses require a much higher standard of protection and reliability, and these resources cannot meet such levels. By enabling or even encouraging workers to use these resources, businesses are greatly increasing the risk that sensitive corporate information will be lost, stolen or exposed.

By addressing BYOD head-on with clear, well-enforced guidelines, though, firms can take advantage of this trend without increasing their own security risks. And a critical part of such an effort must be the implementation of secure file sharing solutions that are easy to use and feature sufficient protection to guarantee the integrity of corporate information.