Businesses share mobile security concerns, according to survey

October 8, 2012

As more people rely on smartphones and tablets to conduct business and access confidential information, businesses should be aware of mobile security risks and the ways to ensure data protection.

The Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) Mobile Working Group recently conducted a survey of 200 executives from 26 countries about mobile devices in the workplace. The Top Mobile Threats report outlines specific mobile device concerns many decision-makers share. These results can help enterprises determine where their focus needs to be when addressing security threats, Help Net Security reported.

Survey results
According to the study, the top three mobile security concerns are data loss from devices that were reported lost or stolen, mobile malware that steals information and poorly written third-party applications that can result in data leakage. Executives were also worried about vulnerabilities in smartphone or tablet software, insufficient management tools and insecure WiFi connections. According to the source, 81 percent of respondents believe that unsafe WiFi access points may provide hackers with an entry point that can help steal confidential information.

Steps for mobile security
Because many are using either browsers or applications to access company data on their smartphones or tablets, this survey will educate employers and their employees on the importance of security controls.

Decision-makers must take action to ease the minds of their workers. Some experts recommend employing mobile device management (MDM) software to monitor the use of mobile devices, check downloaded applications for malware and wipe information if necessary, as long as moderators have a user's consent. Others suggest integrating mobile application management (MAM) software into business infrastructures because it can wrap an app in a security layer that restricts its abilities, which won't affect personal data on smartphones or tablets, Informationweek reported.

Employees should also take steps to ensure security in the cloud. Password protections and encryption can help deter a hacker from accessing information. Workers must be wary when opening suspicious emails, and read users' reviews and comments before downloading an application.

"With more and more enterprises adopting a BYOD model, it is critical that mobile devices adhere to the same corporate security policies as other devices and that proper identity and access management processes are put in place to ensure the security and integrity of the organization," said Patrick Harding, Ping Identity's chief technology officer.

-McAfee Cloud Security