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SMBs Face High Security Risks From Employee Mobile Devices

Written by Ken Gaebler
Published: 2/22/2012

New study reveals the extent of the massive security threat posed by Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies.

Mobile technology has transformed the SMB workplace. But for many small and medium-sized businesses, the use of mobile devices has a hidden cost: Security.

SMB Security Threats Due to Mobile Devices

In a SMB beta study conducted by Mobilisafe, a Seattle-based mobile security company, it was revealed that while most SMBs' mobile agendas are driven by user-owned, BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies, the majority of IT managers severely underestimate the number and types of mobile devices that are connecting to their servers and networks.

Key findings from the study include:

  • More than four out five employees use smartphones and tablet devices in some capacity
  • Devices are introduced into SMBs and connect to company networks at a rate of one new device model per every 6.6 workers
  • More than half (56%) of iOS devices have not been updated with the latest versions of firmware

But one of the most alarming findings from the study was that 39% of the authenticated devices at play in SMBs have been inactive for longer than 30 days, indicating that a high number of devices may have been lost or sold while containing employee credentials, sensitive business data or proprietary apps.

"We know that SMB IT departments are severely resource constrained, and do not have the time to get ahead of the issues introduced by an increasing diversity of devices brought to work by employees. This study confirms the severity of the issues, and the need for a solution that makes it simple to see, assess and respond these risks," says Mobilisafe CEO, Giri Sreenivas.

To combat the security risks posed by BYOD practices, SMBs need to achieve greater visibility regarding the depth of device-related security threats in their organizations and formulate policies designed to regulate the use of both employee-owned and company-owned mobile devices.

More specifically, businesses need to target ways to provide greater security for business data and user credentials by applying a combination of technologies and mobility best practices.

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