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BYOD: Why the biggest security worry is the fool within rather than the enemy without

While IT departments are geared to scouring the internet for potential threats the biggest issue they see is the careless employee with mobile devices.
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Written by Colin Barker, Senior Reporter on

The vast majority – 95 percent – of IT managers are prepared to admit that they are struggling to tackle all the potential security threats they face and 87 percent believe that the biggest threats came from mobile devices in the hands of careless employees, according to a new survey.

Check Point's third annual security survey is focused this year on mobile devices. The company interviewed 700 IT professionals in the US, UK, Germany, Canada and Australia.

Despite the proliferation of mobile devices within organizations and careless employees being identified as the weakest link, 91 percent of IT professionals said they have seen an increase in the number of personal mobile devices connecting to their networks over the past two years.

In 2014, 56 percent of those surveyed managed business data on employee-owned devices, up from 37 percent in 2013.

Check Point believes that "2015 is shaping up to be a risky year" with 82 percent of those surveyed expecting the number of security incidents to grow in 2015 and 98 percent "expressed their concern" about the impact of a mobile security incident.

Additionally, 2014 saw an increase in the cost of repairing any damage after a mobile incident with 42 percent saying that mobile security incidents now cost their organizations more than $250,000 (£155,032).

Android seen as increasingly risky

Perhaps worryingly for the Android business the perceived risk from that platform increased from 49 percent in 2013 to 64 percent this year when as compared to Apple, Windows Phone, and Blackberry.

According to Dorit Dor, vice president of product at Check Point Software Technologies, the survey showed that, "it is clear that IT professionals are not seeing an end to mobile security threats, and in fact, are preparing for an increase of these incidents in 2015".

For tech professionals the biggest concern over IT security is lost or stolen information (82 percent) followed by the introduction of a further security flaw into the corporate system (via a virus or other medium) where security people see a 61 percent risk. That was followed by worry over compliance violations and any subsequent fines (43 percent) and the cost of replacing lost or stolen devices which is less of a worry only concerning 32 percent of those surveyed.

According to Check Point, any company moving to BYOD faces real concerns. Of those surveyed, 72 percent saw securing corporate information as a real issue with BYOD. Some 62 percent of IT managers said that they had issues when trying to manage devices that had both corporate and personal information and 59 percent said that trying to track and control access between corporate and private networks was also a problem.

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