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BlackBerry Security Summit: IT decision makers concerned over mobile vulnerabilities

20 Jul 16

IT decision makers remain concerned over the level of vulnerabilities that exist in mobile devices, despite extensive resources dedicated to mobile security.

That’s according to a survey from BlackBerry, presenting at the BlackBerry Security Summit in New York today.

The survey reveals 73% of organisations have a mobile security strategy in place, but only three percent say they have implemented the highest levels of security possible. According to BlackBerry, this is in part because of user attitudes – 82% of the executives admit mobile security precautions cause at least some frustration among employees, and potentially hinder productivity.

Overall, 44% fear that too much mobile security will prevent employees from doing their job, the survey shows.

This fear of implementing a stronger mobile environment led to a majority, 86%, of executives who said they are worried about the level of protection for their organisation with half saying they will experience more security breaches through mobile devices.

BlackBerry says part of the reason organisations 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 containerisation, the company explains.

However, nearly 45% have no containerisation 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,” explains David Kleidermacher, chief security officer at BlackBerry .

“This is especially true as the constant adoption of new technologies regularly brings the potential for new vulnerabilities, which can offset the benefits,” he says.

“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 uncovered that nearly half of organisations 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, BlackBerry says.

The company says IT decision-makers also want and seek outside help when it comes to securing their mobile environments. Of those surveyed, 59% report that external expertise is the best option for reviewing mobile practices.  

The numbers are just as pronounced and even more so when analysing specific industries:

Only around four in ten respondents’ organisations have a mobile device management strategy in place. Of these respondents, many felt their organisation’s mobile device security strategy is not good enough, specifically:

Financial services: 44%
Government: 52%
Healthcare: 37%
Legal: 54%

Overall, 47% believe that popular BYOD policies leave the company vulnerable to too many risks, and those concerns are reflected in different sectors:

Financial services: 55%
Healthcare: 50%
Government: 43%
Legal: 53%

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%
Healthcare: 78%
Government: 85%
Legal: 94%

However, there is general agreement that a strong mobile security posture can offer great benefits:

67% say their data is more secure
64% see increased mobility for employees
51% have experienced fewer security breaches
50% find it easier to comply with regulations
Enhanced compliance is a benefit for financial services (55%), healthcare (54%) and IT/computer services (65%)

“All mobile security policies must be consistently evaluated and tweaked, but also regularly overhauled,” Kleidermacher says.

“BlackBerry recognises that security is a dynamic field, and even the best defensive strategies and technologies today may be inadequate tomorrow,” he says.

“Therefore, the optimal strategy is one that secures the mobile enterprise while boosting convenience and productivity, and can then be adapted to combat new vulnerabilities as they arise.

“BlackBerry continues to integrate key capabilities into its enterprise software portfolio to provide organisations the flexibility they need as they use mobility to empower IT decision makers and employees,” he adds.

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