Lax security on mobiles puts sensitive data at risk

Companies risk losing sensitive data and documents because they are failing to secure the electronic personal organiser devices and mobile phones used by their workforce, analysts have warned.

Businesses are neglecting to take even the simplest security precautions, such as using passwords to protect access to corporate e-mails if staff lose their handheld devices, according to a survey of 2,650 organisations by analyst firm Quocirca.

The survey, commissioned by telecoms giant Orange, found that 40% of businesses did not apply the same degree of security to handheld devices as they did to laptop computers.

Yet nearly 70% of those surveyed said data falling into the wrong hands through the theft or loss of mobile devices was their most important mobile security concern, ranking above unauthorised network access.

“Increasing numbers of PDAs and advanced mobile phones are being used in business but the measures organisations take to secure the data stored and accessed by these devices is often inadequate,” said Rob Bamford, principal analyst at Quocirca.

He advised companies to make sure they had security policies in place for staff using mobile devices – and enforced them.

“It’s making sure that everyone understands, right from the top of the organisation to the bottom,” he said. “Everyone has a responsibility for security. The more mobile a device is, the easier it is to be careless with it or lose it.”

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