30% of employers want to curb smartphones in office

Most companies see the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend, where employees use their personal mobile devices for work purposes, as a growing threat to business.

Even so, the percentage of companies taking measures to minimise this threat is relatively small, according to the results of the Global Corporate IT Security Risks 2013 survey, conducted by B2B International in collaboration with Kaspersky Lab. This survey involved interviews with representatives of companies in 24 countries including the UAE.

Respondents in Japan expressed the most concern about this growing trend and its associated threats: 93 per cent agreed that BYOD is a threat to their businesses. Companies in North America (69 per cent) also voiced a high level of concern, as did those in the GCC (65 per cent) including the UAE (67 per cent) and Western Europe (62 per cent). Russian companies were the least concerned, with 57 per cent of participants acknowledging any threat posed by a BYOD policy.

The survey showed that while 19 per cent of respondents in the UAE said they plan to encourage the use of personal smartphones and tablets at work, 30 per cent plan to prohibit the number and types of devices used and another 40 per cent said they did not believe that prohibitive measures would prevent employees from using their own devices.

It is easy to see why there are growing business concerns about threats posed by mobile devices: the survey also shows that the improper use of these devices is a frequent cause of IT security incidents, resulting in the loss of critical company data. 10 per cent of respondents in the UAE said their companies had suffered confidential data leaks through mobile email clients, text messaging, and other channels available to smartphone and tablet owners.

But comparatively few companies are adopting specialised software products to protect themselves against such threats. Around 48 per cent of companies in the UAE are using antivirus solutions to integrate, protect and manage mobile devices on the corporate network, and 33 per cent use mobile device management solutions.

As BYOD becomes more commonplace and the number of incidents involving mobile devices grows, ensuring the centralised management of these devices and keeping them secure has become an important and relevant need. It is equally important that the solutions performing these functions are easy to use, easy to manage, and easy to integrate into the corporate network.

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