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Too Many Employees Ignore BYOD Security

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Considering the risks that BYOD mobile activity can pose to enterprises, CIOs have a right to be dismayed by two recent surveys showing just how little some employees care about protecting data on mobile devices.

A recent survey by Centrify found that:

  • 43% have accessed sensitive corporate data on an unsecured public network.
  • 15% have had their personal account or password compromised.
  • 15% believe they have little or no responsibility to protect the data stored on their personal devices.

Imagine 150 employees of a 1,000-person company casually using public Wi-Fi hotspots and downloading risky public-cloud file sharing services and other risky apps. While they may not be concerned about protecting the corporate data on their devices, a single breach could potentially cost the organization millions of dollars.

A separate survey conducted by Absolute Software found that:

  • 25% of employees in industries such as banking, energy, healthcare, and retail feel that it’s not their problem if they accidentally leak confidential data.
  • About 33% of employees who had lost their phones did not change their habits afterwards.
  • 59% of employees estimated the value of the corporate data on their phones to be less than $500.

Employees are far too sanguine about the value of corporate data: even 50KB of the right data can be worth a lot more than $500. A study of data breach costs by the Ponemon Institute and Symantec found that the cost of a single breached healthcare record in 2013 was $233, not counting any additional costs from penalties imposed by the HHS and the FTC. Across all industries, the cost of a single breached record in the U.S. was estimated at $188.

Leaking confidential data such as product plans or partner contracts can erode an organization’s competitive advantage, costing potentially millions of dollars. Clearly, employees need to be reminded about the true value and costs associated with corporate data.

Knowing that many employees are lackadaisical about data security, CIOs should invest in mobile security solutions that do not rely on end users following best practices or being security-minded. A mobile security solution that keeps corporate data separate from personal data is a crucial choice for enterprises, especially when employees are casual, if not careless, about data security and compliance.

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