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The business world is ill-prepared for incorporating mobile devices into operations, with a lack of data protection headlining security concerns.
A new report by Aruba Networks pointed to the high-risk, security-indifferent mindset of the GenMobile workforce in creating alarming disparity in security practices around the corporate world.
The study, of more than 11,500 employees in 23 countries, found Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea, China and UAE as the world’s top five riskiest regions for such data threats.
This at-risk attitude was identified using factors such as employees who are most likely to distrust their IT teams, disobey bosses to complete tasks, lose company data due to the misuse of a mobile, use the fewest amount of passwords to protect devices, and others.
“The growth in these developing, fast-firing countries is apparently unbridled at times, and appears to owe an intrinsic cause-and effect debt to this mindset,” explains Professor Andy Phippen, professor of social responsibility in social IT at Plymouth University who led the study.
On the other hand, Sweden, USA, Canada, UK and Norway were the least likely to have such risks.
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While many may say the GenMobile workforce is instigating a culture of sharing in the workplace, the report found 6 out of every 10 respondents are happy to let others regularly use their work and personal smartphones.
They also tend to be lax when it comes to security considerations, nearly a third of workers admit to having lost data due to the misuse of a mobile device.
In comparison, employees over the age of 55 are half as likely to experience identity theft or loss of personal or client data compared to younger employees between 25-34 years old being the group most likely to lose data or have their identity stolen.
Male employees more prone to data theft, being 20% more likely than women to have lost personal or client data due to the misuse of a smartphone, and 40% more likely than female employees to fall victim to identity theft.
The finance sector was found the main culprit for leaking data. 39% of respondents from financial institutions admit to losing company data through the misuse of a mobile device, 25% higher than the average across all industries surveyed.
This comes on the back of the recent high profile case of IT expert turned whistleblower Hervé Falciani exposing HSBC’s Swiss private banking arm in aiding royalty, criminals, terrorists, drug dealers conceal their identities to dodge taxes.
The biggest surprise in the findings was that employees from the high-tech sector are nearly two times (46%) more likely than hospitality or education workers to simply give up their device password if asked for it by IT.
Teachers could really use some training in data protection, as that educators are 28% more likely to store passwords on a sheet of paper compared to those in high tech.
They also scored the lowest compared to all other industries when asked if they password-protected their personal smartphones.