Business smartphones suffer from data encryption deficit

A new study has found worrying evidence that a majority of smartphones used by businesses do not have any kind of encryption protecting the sensitive data which they store, leaving the door open for malicious parties to steal and corrupt corporate details and private information.

Seventy per cent of respondents to a survey carried out by security firm Check Point, said that the smartphones issued by their employers had no kind of encryption in place, while 87 per cent said that this extends across other portable storage solutions such as USB memory sticks.

The analysts claim that the study shows just how difficult it can be for IT departments to keep on top of device security, consequently making it much more difficult to counteract data loss, portable storage theft and unwarranted third party network access.

Two hundred and twenty people took part in the study and vulnerabilities were exposed in almost all of the businesses which they represent. The results are said to show that as workers move into operating more regularly in a mobile environment, the threats posed to data increase.

Many are attempting to step up efforts to stem the growth of potential data loss flaws by implementing the usage of secure VPNs on laptops, which was suggested by 52 per cent of respondents. Meanwhile, only 23 per cent said that they would be encrypting portable hard drives and a fifth said USB memory sticks would be getting encryption over the next 12 months.

Check Point’s Nick Lowe, said that because many businesses are going to increase the number of devices capable of storing data, the problems facing the security teams are becoming greater.

There is a general debate over who should be held responsible for the protection of data stored on a portable, mobile device, according to Mr Lowe.

Industry analyst Bob Tarzey, believes that with greater restrictions on personal device usage, many businesses will actually increase the number of employees who break regulations and so urges firms to employ sensible, inclusive practices, so that security can be assured without alienating the average employee.

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