Mobile porn and Facebook are a headache for businesses

16 Jun 2010147 Views

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Businesses see the onset of mobile porn and mobile social networking as the biggest threats to productivity in the workforce and believe they could also undermine the security of mobile working.

A survey by business communications provider Damovo of IT directors found that 55pc of directors believe mobile social networking was the biggest threat followed by mobile porn (30pc), mobile gaming (8pc) and mobile TV (7pc).

Some 92pc said that as more employees are using mobile devices to work remotely and access corporate networks, the number of security threats had increased.

Nearly two thirds of IT directors admitted that they found enforcing mobile usage policies a headache.

These emerging threats are likely to grow as mobile working continues to rise in popularity thanks to the advances in mobile technology. Some 92pc of respondents stated that as more employees are using mobile devices to work remotely and access corporate networks, the number of security threats they faced had increased.

At the same time 95pc of respondents admitted that their organisation’s workforce was going to become even more mobile over the next 10 years.

“While this survey was undertaken in the UK, we are seeing very similar results in the Irish market,” said Mary Bradshaw, managing director, Damovo Ireland.

“As mobile devices become increasingly ubiquitous for business users in Ireland, it’s important to be aware that inappropriate usage can introduce a wide range of security and productivity concerns.

“This needs to be managed carefully so that the many benefits that mobile devices bring to a business are not lost,” Bradshaw said.

Bradshaw explained that, increasingly, many workers are only using one mobile device for both business and personal use, which can make enforcing mobile-usage policies difficult.

In fact, nearly two thirds (63pc) of IT directors admitted that they found enforcing mobile-usage policies a headache. It is therefore hardly surprising that 88pc also admitted that they would like better visibility of their employees’ mobile usage in order to better manage costs and improve mobile security across their organisation.

Currently, mobile security is often left in the hands of the end users meaning that important company and personal data can be easily compromised if devices are lost or stolen. In addition, the onus is on the end user to return mobile devices to the IT department or the device manufacturer when software needs upgrading.

As a result, organisations are left with many different devices running different software versions with differing levels of protection. Some 82pc of IT directors believed that such inconsistent upgrade cycles were leading to increased mobile security and performance concerns.

At the same time, 94pc also believed that their mobile devices should be decommissioned in a more secure manner, considering the increasing amounts of sensitive personal and business data today’s devices hold.

One of the main causes of these problems is that in a lot of organisations mobile devices are purchased through procurement or on a departmental level rather than through IT. Unsurprisingly, 81pc of IT directors admitted that they found it difficult to manage and secure their mobile phones when they were not purchased through or specified by the IT department.

“The latest mobile device management solutions can provide IT departments with far greater visibility and control over the mobile devices on their network. Features such as ‘over the air’ updates, data encryption and remote data wiping can provide businesses with greater peace of mind that their workforce’s mobile devices are secure, especially if they fall into the wrong hands, Bradshaw said.

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com