Companies Blindly Believe They've Locked Down Users' Mobile Use

IT security teams may be in for a surprise about their mobile exposure as the GDPR compliance deadline approaches, according to a new survey.



Despite 61% of security and IT executives believing they have limited their users' access to company resources on their mobile devices, some 64% of employees acknowledge they can access enterprise customer, partner, and employee data from those devices, new data shows.

Some 58% of employees say they can retrieve customers' personally identifiable information (PII) from their mobile devices as well, according to a new report released today from Lookout.

The "Finding GDPR Noncompliance in a Mobile First World" report queried 2,062 US and UK respondents to assess where they stood as the May 25 deadline approaches for compliance of the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

GDPR requires that organizations with European citizen PII must adhere to new rules on the way they handle this information and inform citizens affected by data breaches or face a hefty fine of 4% of a company's annual revenue.

"It was really surprising how companies thought they had locked their employees from accessing this data on their phones, but 64% of employees said they could access it. This awareness gap is significant," says Aaron Cockerill, Lookout's chief strategy officer.

With the majority of security and IT executives believing they have limited their employees' mobile access to PII, it may explain why only 16% plan to expand their compliance strategy to include mobile devices, Cockerill surmises.

It's also interesting to note that while a minority of executives plan to increase their mobile device compliance strategies, a whopping 84% of executives agree any personal data accessed via employees' mobile devices could put their organization at risk of falling out of GDPR compliance.

The survey found that 73% of employees use the same mobile phone for both work and personal use.

Another risk to PII data may also stem from employees accessing such data connecting to potentially risky Wi-Fi networks, which could result in a man-in-the-middle attack and put data at risk of being stolen, notes Cockerill. The survey results show that 68% of US employees connect to such networks on the go, he says.

Additionally, 48% of US employees acknowledge they download applications from sources other than app stores Google Play and Apple's App Store, which runs counter to advice security experts give users to steer clear of risky, unofficial app stores or sources.

Overall, 63% of survey respondents note they download apps outside of what their companies offer, in order to aid them in doing their jobs.

According to the survey, employees via their mobile devices actually have access to:

  • corporate contacts (80%)
  • work calendar (88%)
  • enterprise apps (85%)
  • corporate messaging (81%)
  • MFA/stored credentials (77%)
  • administrative tools (66%)

"Employees are just trying to do their jobs. This is not malicious," Cockerill says. "The reason for this study is to show companies they have this problem. Technology does exist to find out what their employees have installed and where the information is going."

Related Content:

Join Dark Reading LIVE for two days of practical cyber defense discussions. Learn from the industry’s most knowledgeable IT security experts. Check out the INsecurity agenda here.

Dawn Kawamoto is an Associate Editor for Dark Reading, where she covers cybersecurity news and trends. She is an award-winning journalist who has written and edited technology, management, leadership, career, finance, and innovation stories for such publications as CNET's ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Email This  | 
Print  | 
RSS
More Insights
Copyright © 2019 UBM Electronics, A UBM company, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service