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Could mobile working be putting corporate data at risk?


Could mobile working be putting corporate data at risk?
22nd March 2017

by Shannon Greenhalgh

Cyber security is one of the chief challenges facing businesses. No company is too large for a leak as the likes of TalkTalk and Three have demonstrated, and it seems that staff negligence or mistakes often have a hand in security alerts. Writing for telecoms and IT news site VanillaPlus, John Fielding, EMEA managing director at Apricorn, discussed the results from a study which found that corporate data may be compromised if corporations do not adapt their security policies to the growing trend of remote working.

According to the study by Apricorn and Vanson Bourne, almost half (48%) of the companies surveyed stated that employees were one of their biggest security risks. Employee error or the mishandling of data is often one of the main culprits for breaches, but as remote working becomes more common and data is taken out of the company network, the scope for mistakes becomes greater.

Research by the TUC last year found that the number of remote workers has increased by a fifth over the last ten years. Mobile working creates vulnerability as companies are unsure of how to adequately enforce a security strategy that covers every network.

Additionally, the number of devices that staff bring with them – such as USBs, phones or tablets – and the sheer scale of the internet of things (IoT) both leave the company open to hackers or ransomware. Consider also individuals who may have unsecure home networks or those who do not have adequate cyber protection but still have access to company emails, platforms and important data.

Unsurprisingly, of the organisations surveyed, 53% said that managing all of the technology that employees need and use for mobile working is "too complex", while a further 35% complained that technology for secure mobile working is too expensive. Conversely, 57% explained that while they agree that mobile workers are willing to comply with security measures, they don't have the necessary skills or technology at home to keep company data secure.

Fielding writes: "It is clear that while many organisations recognise the security problems associated with mobile working, sometimes it's down to a lack of adequate training or not providing the right tools. Businesses must be poised to further improve security capabilities by preparing for shifting business models and enhanced data-privacy needs such as the introduction of the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) due to come into force in 2018."

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