By Michael Moore
BYOD working may have helped businesses get more out of their employees, but it seems that many firms are failing to ensure employees are keeping data secure outside the office.
Kaspersky Lab research has found many workers are not securing company data on their personal devices, with one in 10 admitting they were "seriously concerned" about keeping work information safe should cyber-criminals gain access to their device.
The study found that many employees of large and medium-sized companies are now using personal mobile devices for vital work processes, with 36 percent of respondents saying that they stored work files on them and 34 percent keeping work-related email messages.
However, this is increasingly extending to include more confidential information that also can be found on users' devices, such as passwords to corporate email accounts (18 percent) and networks or VPNs (11 percent). Such information represents a valuable prize for cyber-criminals hunting for corporate secrets.
To minimize the risks to businesses, Kaspersky is recommending that businesses looking to implement BYOD working prepare thoroughly for implementation, and use a security solution that covers the full range of mobile devices. The company also recommends having trained security specialists on board who are able to pull suspect or infected devices off the network.
"By successfully creating and managing a BYOD network, businesses can simplify their IT operations while providing greater flexibility for employees," said Kirill Slavin, general manager of U.K. and Ireland at Kaspersky Lab.
"However, BYOD can potentially create security gaps if not managed effectively and Kaspersky Security for Mobile was developed specifically to meet the right requirements. The best way to make BYOD work for a business is to ensure it is simple to control and easy to maintain without compromising security or performance."
Despite promising a wide range of advantages, including flexible working and improved connectivity, BYOD schemes are still being viewed with suspicion by many companies.
A recent HP study discovered that half of organizations questioned are still mistrustful of BYOD, admitting to being concerned that such a policy would compromise their organization's security.
Of those companies surveyed that had a BYOD policy in place, 20 percent reported that they had been hit by at least one security breach in the last year, with two percent suffering more than five BYOD-related breaches in the same period.