Are your employees a security risk?

A third of companies say they have experienced a data loss or breach as a direct result of mobile working.

Research conducted by Vanson Bourne for Apricorn has found that 48% of companies polled say employees are one of their biggest security risks, 29% have already experienced a data loss or breach as a direct result of mobile working and 44% expect that mobile workers will expose them to risk in the future.

Overall, 70% of IT decision-makers say securing corporate data is an on-going battle. Over half of those polled (53%) said that managing all of the technology that employees need and use for mobile working is too complex and 35% said technology for secure mobile working is too expensive.

One in ten companies, regardless of size, don't have a strategy that covers removable media, such as USB sticks. Despite some having security policies for mobile working, 68% say they cannot be certain that their data is adequately secured when employees work remotely or on mobile devices. According to Apricorn, encryption is the best way to protect valuable data but only a third of those surveyed say they enforce hardware and software encryption of their data.

"Whilst data protection is not a straightforward task, companies (particularly those in the private sector) are trusted by their customers to follow basic best practices," said Jon Fielding, managing director of Apricorn EMEA. "Organisational struggles with enforcing data protection regulations and compliance standards are putting confidential data at risk. The repercussions associated with a data breach are huge, both in terms of financial and reputational damage."

In 2018, the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force. The survey found a lack of awareness amongst UK companies when it comes to the GDPR requirements. "Companies will need to ensure personal data of European citizens is secure but, disturbingly, 24% of the surveyed organisations are not even aware of the GDPR and its implications," said Fielding. "On top of this, 17% are aware of the regulations, but don't have a plan for ensuring compliance."

When asked about the greatest security risk to their organisation in 2017, 51% cited outdated software, followed by employees (48%) and the cloud (40%). More than a third of those surveyed said BYOD and mobile working were among the biggest liabilities.

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