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Smartphones and tablets streamline business operations, but many companies don’t take fundamental mobile device cybersecurity precautions to protect their data and core systems, according to the latest research from Verizon.

In addition, the Mobile Security Index 2018 found almost a third of companies knowingly sacrifice mobile security to improve speed to market and business performance.

“Insufficient mobile security … puts client data at risk along with company data,” Verizon Wireless Director Matt Montgomery said in an email. “With personal device use and working remote as the new normal, any data a company uses or has access to is potentially attainable to a hacker.”  

The report also found:

  • Most businesses say the risks are serious and growing, but the “overwhelming majority” could not say the measures they have in place for mobile devices are very effective.
  • Only 59 percent of businesses restrict which apps employees download from the internet to their mobile devices.
  • Only 33 percent of organizations use mobile endpoint security and less than half (47 percent) said their organization uses device encryption.
  • More than 60 percent of respondents said a lack of understanding of threats and solutions are a barrier to mobile security.
  • Less than 40 percent of businesses change all default passwords, and only 38 percent use strong or two-factor authentication on their mobile devices.
  • Less than half have a policy regarding the use of public Wi-Fi, and even fewer (47 percent) encrypt the transmission of sensitive data across open, public networks.

“Like many IT areas, mobile security is easier said than done,” Montgomery said. “The obstacles companies face when trying to implement better mobile security can be very challenging, such as bring your own device policies, but companies are knowingly putting speed and profits before mobile security and that is a large part of the problem.”

For the report, Verizon commissioned an independent research company to survey more than 600 professionals involved in managing mobile devices for their organizations.

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Take a deeper dive into cybersecurity for mobile devices in the March 9 edition of the Business Journal.