Mobile security: 30 percent of firms say they have none

Larry Ponemon

Larry Ponemon

Organizations seem to be willing to sacrifice security to realize the benefits of a more efficient workforce that is “always connected”. A much better, but challenging, approach is to adopt a mobile strategy with technologies that enable the employee to work efficiently without putting confidential information at risk. Strategies also need to include training and awareness programs because of employees’ negligence and tendency to ignore security procedures. The research also reveals that the biggest barrier to achieving an effective mobile security strategy is employee resistance.

Ponemon Institute is pleased to present the findings of Security in the New Mobile Ecosystem, commissioned by Raytheon. The purpose of this research is to examine the impact of mobile devices, mobile apps and the mobile workforce (a.k.a. mobile ecosystem) on the overall security posture of organizations in the United States. In the context of this research, mobile devices are smartphones and tablets.

We surveyed 618 IT and IT security practitioners who are involved in their organizations’ mobile
and enterprise security activities. Most of the respondents are engaged in implementing
enterprise security (65 percent of respondents), managing mobile technologies and platforms (55 percent of respondents) and setting mobile strategy (47 percent of respondents).
Following are key takeaways from this research:

End-user productivity drives growth of mobile devices in the workplace. Sixty-one percent of respondents say mobile devices increase productivity, which is an incentive for employees to use them and organizations to encourage their use. According to the research, on average one-third of employees use mobile devices exclusively to do their work and this is expected to increase to an average of 47 percent of employees in the next 12 months.

More mobile devices must be managed but budgets fail to keep up with the growth. The
typical organization represented in this study must manage an average of almost 20,000 mobile
devices and this is expected to increase to an average of 28,000 in the next 12 months.

Only 36 percent of respondents say they have a budget sufficient to deal with the explosive
growth of mobile devices. The average budget that is considered adequate is approximately $5.5 million annually – or $278 per managed device.

Security is sacrificed for productivity. The majority of respondents (52 percent) say security
practices on mobile devices have been sacrificed in order to improve employee productivity.
Moreover, 60 percent believe employees have become less diligent in practicing good mobile
security. The two biggest mobile security risks are malware infections and end-user negligence.

Security in the new mobile ecosystem is critical. Thirty percent of respondents say their organizations have no mobile security features in place. However, 75 percent say it is important to secure employees’ mobile devices. A virtualized solution is popular with 57 percent of respondents. The methods most often used to secure mobile devices are mobile device
management and secure containers.

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