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Mobile Security Decision-Makers Report BYOD Threats Have Infiltrated Their Organizations

Webroot study found an overwhelming 82 percent of respondents believe that mobile devices create a high security risk within the corporate environment
BROOMFIELD, Colo., Nov. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- A new mobile security study finds that the vast majority of organizations that allow employees to BYOD (bring your own device) are experiencing high rates of mobile threats, including lost or stolen devices, malware, and compromised company data. Conducted by Webroot®, a leader in delivering Internet security as a service, the study exposes that the popular trend of allowing employees to use their smartphones and tablets at work is causing a significant drain on IT resources while at the same time putting corporate data at risk. The full report is available at


The study, which focused on mobile security decision-makers in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia, found an overwhelming 82% of respondents believe that mobile devices create a high security risk within the corporate environment. Results show that mobile security is a high priority for half of the companies supporting BYOD, equating to increased help desk support and consumption of valuable IT resources. In addition, 45% reported lost or stolen devices in the past year and 24% experienced mobile malware infections, crippling productivity and potentially compromising company and customer data.

However, larger organizations, those with 500 or more employees, are at even higher risk. According to the study, 67% had dealt with lost or stolen mobile devices and 32% had experienced mobile malware infections, creating widespread concern about the business impact of employee-owned devices within the enterprise.

Top-level corporate study findings:

-- 63% of companies reported significant increases in demand for

help desk support to repair, replace or manage the security of

smartphones and tablets in the company, consuming as much as 36%

of one help desk technician's time resolving these issues each month.

-- 61% required additional IT resources to manage mobile security,

resulting in higher costs.

-- More than half reported mobile threats reduced employee productivity and

disrupted business activities.

-- Two-thirds of companies (67 percent) agree that the management of mobile

device security is a great burden on IT resources.

-- 46% of BYOD companies have implemented mobile security, but only

40% of companies with fewer than 100 employees have mobile


What Can Organizations Do?

Webroot advises that companies take the following steps to reduce the risks associated with BYOD:

-- Establish device control policies: Create a policy that governs how your

corporate IT staff can gain control over a personal device while

maintaining your network security. Include information about how to keep

personal information private (e.g., via a mobile device backup strategy

such as containerization that doesn't touch personal data) and define

corporate ownership over data and applications.

-- Enforce device-level security: Both corporate-owned and personal devices

should have secure passwords and screen locks; document this requirement

in your mobile device policies. In addition, require that personal and

corporate mobile devices maintain up-to-date, corporate-approved (and

preferably corporate-managed) security software installed to guard

against malware and other security risks.

-- Develop and deliver mobile workforce security training: Security

training will keep your mobile workforce productive and prepared to be

the first line of defense against malware and other security threats to

their mobile devices. Spell out your corporate policies and include a

participant sign-off stating that they understand and will abide by the


-- Let your business drive mobile device security policies and training:

Business requirements and culture drive the policies, training and other

upfront work you do to support your mobile workforce security needs.

"Cyber criminals are increasingly targeting employees as access portals to a company's infrastructure, intensifying the need for controls and layered defenses that can identify and mitigate attacks," said Jacques Erasmus, chief information security officer at Webroot. "As the popularity of employee-owned devices in the workplace continues to grow, this defense needs to be supplemented with a coherent but simple BYOD management strategy, underpinned by three elements: device control policies, device-level security and mobile workforce security training."

About the Research

Between July 30 and August 1, 2012 Webroot commissioned a study of endpoint and mobile security decision-makers in companies with 10 or more employees in the US, UK, and Australia. The scope of the research included both BYOD and company-owned mobile devices. Research Now provided respondents from their online panel of IT and business executives. A total of 741 people responded to an online survey hosted by Qualtrics. The margin of error for the study is +/-