Businesses ignoring mobile worker risks

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Businesses are ill-prepared for the “high risk, security indifferent” flexible workforce, according to a report by Aruba Networks.

It calls flexible workers using multiple mobile devices #GenMobile and says changing ways of working offer opportunities for savvy businesses. However, too many are ignoring the risks posed by the mobile workforce, many of whom are sharing mobile devices, ignoring security protocols and losing data.

Surveying almost 12,000 employees around the globe, Aruba found 6 out of 10 are happy to let others regularly use their work and personal smartphones. Nearly a third of workers admit to having lost data due to the misuse of a mobile device and employees are willing to break the rules if they feel it serves a greater purpose: over half would disobey their boss in order to get their job done.

“#GenMobile workers are flexible, transparent and collaborative, willing to take action to drive productivity and business growth. That said, these employees are also far more willing to share company data, and are notably oblivious towards security,” said Ben Gibson, CMO of Aruba Networks.

The study found that over a third (37%) of businesses do not have a basic mobile security policy, while 18% of employees are not using password protection on their devices. Aruba said businesses should work with #GenMobile to mitigate these risks, rather than trying to curb this way of working.

“Organizations should strive to build a secure and operational framework for all workers, rather than stifle them. These trends underline that #GenMobile employees continue to be a growing part of the everyday workforce, but they also bring with them some risky behaviors,” said Gibson. “Firms need to nurture creativity, while at the same time minimize the risk of data and information loss.”

One industry that proves concerning is finance, as 39% of respondents from financial institutions admit to losing company data through the misuse of a mobile device – 25% higher than average. In addition, high tech employees are nearly twice as likely to give up their password if asked by IT than hospitality or education workers; and teachers are 28% more likely to store passwords on a sheet of paper than those in high tech.

The report adds that men, younger employees and higher earners are more likely to lose company data than other workers.

Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/afagen/

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