Staff use of mobile e-mail puts company networks at risk

Large organisations are leaving their networks vulnerable to attack by failing to police unofficial use of mobile e-mail devices by their staff, IT analyst firm Gartner has warned.


Staff are often tempted to link their personal mobile devices to the work e-mail system, particularly when they see senior staff with BlackBerries or similar devices.


But this can create serious security holes in networks, which can allow hackers and viruses into corporate systems, according to Gartner analyst Monica Basso.


Some companies are so relaxed about their staff using personal devices to link to corporate e-mail that they allow them to redirect their corporate e-mail to public internet sites and use their own devices to synchronise, she said.


Gartner estimates that the number of mobile e-mail devices in use will grow from eight million to more than 80 million worldwide in the next three years, making security a top priority for IT and HR departments.


Businesses should buy scalable mobile e-mail systems and consider offering them to a wider range of employees, rather than restricting them to a few senior executives, Basso said.

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