How many mobile devices and apps do you use on a regular basis? If you’re like the average worker — quite a few.
According to the results of a new survey by CCS Insight, employees’ insatiable demand for mobility in the workplace continues to increase. The average number of connected devices per employee — for business or personal use —rose to 4.8 in 2017, up from 4.2 in 2015 and 4.6 in 2016.
The average number of mobile apps that employees use for work also jumped, to 6.1 in 2017 from 4.1 in 2016. Microsoft Office 365 remains the most popular mobile app used for work purposes, used by 39 percent of survey respondents. Rounding out the top five were LinkedIn, Facebook, Skype and WhatsApp.
Mobile devices and apps make workers more productive but also bring increased security risks to businesses. In its March 2017 Threat Intelligence Report, Nokia noted an all-time high in mobile device malware infections and a sharp increase in compromised smartphones. The report revealed a surge of nearly 400 percent in smartphone malware attacks in 2016. Smartphones were the most-targeted devices in the second half of the year, accounting for 85 percent of all mobile device infections.
However, users aren’t doing enough to protect their mobile devices. In a recent survey of 4,500 business users, Ovum found that 70 percent have no device management or security functionality of any kind.
It’s no surprise, then, that cybercriminals are seeking — and finding — vulnerabilities in mobile devices that can expose both business and personal data. Mobile devices are increasingly being used to access customer and financial data from ERP, CRM and other backend systems. That means sensitive information is residing on devices that may not even have basic security measures in place.
But organizations shouldn’t focus exclusively on smartphones and tablets. A new survey by security firm AlertSec found that laptops generally contain far more sensitive material than other mobile devices. Users reported storing work files as well as credit card and tax information on their laptops. Worse, 46 percent admitted they have exposed themselves to security threats through behaviors such as leaving the laptop unattended, leaving it in the car, declining security updates and attaching login information to the device.
Additionally, the survey found that most people don’t know what sort of security software is installed on their laptops. More than half (55 percent) weren’t even sure if they had antivirus protection.
SSD recognizes that mobile devices require special security considerations and recommends extended security measures such as mobile device management, two-factor authentication, and drive encryption for both desktops and laptops. Business owners and executives should employ tools to reduce the risk that malicious content will reach devices, and secure email to help prevent the exposure of sensitive information.
Whether you work primarily at your desk, or are a road warrior juggling a smartphone, tablet and laptop, you must ensure protection against the latest security threats.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lisa Detwiler, President joined SSD Technology Partners in 2006 as Chief Marketing Officer, and in 2014 she and her two partners Woodie Bowe and Nick Ewen purchased the company. Detwiler holds an MBA in Marketing and Strategy from Carnegie Mellon University. Lisa successfully led SSD through a difficult economy in 2012, recording the company’s greatest growth record in 31 years.
Lisa believes that our foundation for success does not come from fancy business buzzwords or the latest management fads. Success comes from behaviors and commitments to basic guidelines of how we operate as individuals and as a company; do what’s best for the client, practice blameless problem solving, seek to create win/win solutions, check the ego at the door, and communicate to be understood.
Lisa serves the community as a Board Chair of both the American Red Cross and the Delaware Better Business Bureau and has been a member of Wilmington Rotary Club for 10 years.