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Friday, September 13, 2013

Mobile security threats growing

The number of personal mobile devices connected to corporate networks is increasing, as are the number of related security incidents.

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The importance of mobile devices for businesses in every sector has grown tremendously in recent years, thanks largely to the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend. Employees of all kinds are eager to utilize their personal smartphones and tablets for work-related purposes, as they are more familiar and comfortable with these devices than corporate-issued alternatives, which may feature different operating systems. Allowing BYOD in an organization can make workers more agile and responsive, leading to productivity gains.

However, there are also downsides to the implementation of BYOD policies. The most notable of these is the heightened risk of data loss or exposure, due to the difficulties inherent to securing employee-owned devices.

Such fears are fairly justified, according to a recent study. As Mobile Enterprise reported, a new survey from Check Point Software Technologies found that the number of personal mobile devices connected to corporate networks is increasing, as are the number of related security incidents. Firms should therefore consider investing in high-end secure file sharing solutions to optimize performance without compromising data integrity in BYOD environments.

Mobile in the enterprise
According to the study, 96 percent of participating organizations indicated they now have more personal devices connected to their networks than they did the year before, the news source reported. These firms are clearly having trouble securing these devices, as the study also found that nearly four-fifths of survey participants had experienced a mobile data breach or other security incident in 2012.

These incidents have had a serious, negative impact. More than half of firms indicated that the costs they incurred from such events totaled more than $500,000. These costs were both direct and indirect, including court ordered credit monitoring, fines and more, the news source reported.

Scott Emo, mobile security expert at Check Point, indicated that these issues are likely to continue to grow.

"The problem of multiple devices connecting to the corporate network is not linear, it's skyrocketing," said Emo, according to the news source.

Ensuring security
However, despite Emo's projection, it is very possible for firms to limit the risk of experiencing a damaging mobile-based security breach. A key part of any strategy for achieving BYOD security is secure file sharing. If workers do not have the tools they need to send and receive files safely via their mobile devices, they will inevitably turn to less-dependable solutions. If high-quality, secure options are in place, however, the firm's workers will enjoy the productivity gains offered by BYOD without any additional security risk.