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Many Enterprises Still Struggling With Remote Security, Cisco Study Finds

Businesses still not prepared for mobile devices, operational disruptions, report says

Working remotely may have become an everyday occurrence for modern workers, but most companies still haven't normalized their policies and strategies for it, according to a study published today.

Cisco today announced the results of its "Securing the Mobile Workforce" nationwide survey, conducted last month. The survey shows that while many organizations appreciate the increased employee productivity and other benefits offered by laptop computers, smartphones, and virtual private networks, they may not have established clear security strategies or plans for employees to work remotely.

The survey, conducted by InsightExpress and commissioned by Cisco, interviewed 502 information technology decision makers from businesses of all sizes. The survey questioned IT professionals in the health care, retail, finance, government, and education sectors.

In the study, companies said they had enabled an average of 63 percent of employees with laptops, and another 46 percent of employees are using smartphones, noted Fred Kost, director of security solutions marketing at Cisco.

"With so many smartphones out there, it may be time to do some rethinking around the traditional VPN," Kost says. "The remote environment is changing, and the VPN client may change, as well."

Some companies are embracing the idea of the mobile worker, the study says. Of the companies that have adopted mobility and remote-access technology, 62 percent said doing so had resulted in increased employee productivity, with 57 percent noting an increase in employee satisfaction and 42 percent seeing a reduction in overhead costs.

But only 27 percent of the enterprises surveyed had enabled more than half of their workforce to work remotely, the study says. "That means that in the event of a disruption because of weather or other unforseen event, they may not be ready," Kost says.

Cisco did its part to support mobility earlier today, rolling out a new iPhone app that lets security managers track threats remotely.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message. Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

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