What your users really think about mobile security

There are plenty of surveys and studies that cover how IT feels about mobile threats. But what do your users think about all the corporate data they have on their mobile devices? 

Thanks to a recent survey from Absolute Software, we have some answers. It asked employees who have corporate devices several questions about how they use these devices and what they think of the policies and security that govern their use.

First, some bad news. Half (50%) of users surveyed felt that they weren’t responsible for mobile security. Instead, they laid responsibility at the feet of:

  • IT (36%)
  • the CSO or head of security (8%)
  • executives (3%), or
  • others (3%).

And shockingly, 30% of those surveyed said that they didn’t feel there should be any repercussions if data was lost from these devices.

Users want separation … but not really

Mobile device users also seemed to have some conflicting opinions on the way these devices are used. Almost in eight in 10 (79%) said that they would prefer to have separate work and personal devices. That said, 52% use work devices for personal usage.

And what they’re doing on their own time could be putting your data at risk. Risky behaviors include such standard minor violations as online shopping (28%) and social media (27%), but also bigger no-nos, such as:

  • connecting to public WiFi (24%)
  • file sharing (21%)
  • gaming (10%)
  • adult sites (3%)
  • watching pirated content (3%), and
  • gambling (2%).

Worse, C-level users, some of the most valuable targets for hackers, are the primary offenders, with 33% admitting to not-safe-for-work activities versus 15% of other users.

Valuing data

Finally, the survey showed users are starting to appreciate the data they’re entrusted with is actually a valuable company asset.

In a similar survey in 2013, 59% of users said they felt corporate data on devices was worth $500 at most. But in 2015, those numbers have risen sharply. Only 23% believed the data was less than $500, and almost as many (23%) valued it at upwards of $50,000.

Of course the truth is closer to the latter. Data breaches can reach not only into the millions of dollars, they can also be the start of major headaches for years to come – or the end of a company altogether.

Best bet: Avoid relying on dollar figures to make your security argument. Instead, point out that the consequences of a data breach could be enough to put employee’s own data at risk, too, and jeopardize the future of the company as a whole.

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