Research Shows Gap Between Perception and Reality of Mobile Vulnerabilities
Despite extensive resources dedicated to mobile security, many IT decision-makers remain concerned about the level of vulnerabilities that persist, according to new research conducted by BlackBerry Limited.
The survey reveals that 73 percent of organizations have a mobile security strategy in place, but only three percent say they have implemented the highest levels of security possible. This is in part because of user attitudes – 82 percent of the executives admit mobile security precautions cause at least some frustration among employees, and potentially hinder productivity. Overall, 44 percent fear that too much mobile security will prevent employees from doing their job.
This fear of implementing a stronger mobile environment led to a startling majority, 86 percent, of executives who said they are worried about the level of protection for their organization with half saying they will experience more security breaches through mobile devices. Part of the reason organizations are opening themselves up to these risks is because of the growing trend of BYOD – where despite the popularity, almost half believe that supporting a BYOD policy is a risk. A critical element to a successful BYOD or COPE (corporate owned, personally enabled) mobile environment is ensuring the isolation and separation of personal and business mobile data, also known as containerization. However, nearly 45 percent have no containerization technology in place.
“The frequency and severity of malicious attacks have made mobile security the center of attention for CEOs and boards of directors, but doing enough to mitigate risk is still a persistent problem that needs to be solved. This is especially true as the constant adoption of new technologies regularly brings the potential for new vulnerabilities, which can offset the benefits,” said David Kleidermacher, Chief Security Officer at BlackBerry. “We have also heard many of our customers say that security policies can be perceived as a hindrance. However, senior executives in every function, and even in the boardroom, need to forcefully communicate that effective mobile security enhances productivity instead of obstructing it.”
The research also uncovered that nearly half of organizations do not have a Security Incident Response Team (SIRT) in place, despite the fact that SIRT is an industry best practice to reduce the cost of data breaches. IT decision-makers also want and seek outside help when it comes to securing their mobile environments. Of those surveyed, 59 percent report that external expertise is the best option for reviewing mobile practices.
The numbers are just as pronounced and even more so when analyzing specific industries:
Only around four in ten respondents’ organizations have a mobile device management strategy in place. Of these respondents, many felt their organization’s mobile device security strategy is not good enough, specifically:
- Financial services: 44 percent
- Government: 52 percent
- Healthcare: 37 percent
- Legal: 54 percent
Overall, 47 percent believe that popular BYOD policies leave the company vulnerable to too many risks, and those concerns are reflected in different sectors:
- Financial services: 55 percent
- Healthcare: 50 percent
- Government: 43 percent
- Legal: 53 percent
Seventy-three percent see mobile security controls as either an “obstruction” or a “complete obstruction,” and the problems are even worse in some industries:
- Financial services: 78 percent
- Healthcare: 78 percent
- Government: 85 percent
- Legal: 94 percent
However, there is general agreement that a strong mobile security posture can offer great benefits:
- 67 percent say their data is more secure
- 64 percent see increased mobility for employees
- 51 percent have experienced fewer security breaches
- 50 percent find it easier to comply with regulations
Enhanced compliance is a benefit for financial services (55 percent), healthcare (54 percent) and IT/computer services (65 percent)
“All mobile security policies must be consistently evaluated and tweaked, but also regularly overhauled,” added Kleidermacher.