IT departments flying blind when it comes to mobile security

The majority of IT departments are lacking in control when it comes to the security of mobile devices, according to a survey.

The majority of IT departments are lacking in control when it comes to the security of mobile devices, according to a survey.

Mformation, which provides mobile device management technology, commissioned researchers Vanson Bourne to survey 100 CIOs in the UK and 200 CIOs from the US, and found that 78 percent of respondents don't know what devices are connected to the corporate network.

Seventy-six percent said that employee-owned mobile devices are creating security headaches, while only 56 percent said they would be able to secure a device that has been lost or stolen.

"Enterprise IT is really flying blind," said Todd DeLaughter, CEO of Mformation, blaming it partly on a lack of tools to manage the devices.

"A lot of desktop management tools can't deal with these cellular devices."

Most of the CIOs (77 percent) said that unlike the management of traditional computing devices, limited time and budget have led to a lack of maturity with regards to managing mobile devices.

The survey also found that 77 percent of companies do not know what data is on these mobile devices, with a third admitting that they are not able to track data on devices that the company itself has issued.

The large variety of mobile devices, and the many different ways that apps can be put on them, adds a further complexity to managing them, said DeLaughter.

A key issue is the fact that organisations are having to deal with the shift from smartphones to tablet devices.

DeLaughter said: "[Other than email] smartphones just access enterprise data, but now with tablets [like the iPad or Galaxy Tab], it's become a content data creation device."

Although Blackberry maker Research In Motion (RIM) agrees that the survey highlighted pertinent security issues, the company also believes that IT departments should still do what they can to enable mobile device usage in the workplace.

Anthony Payne, director of platform marketing at RIM, said: "We believe IT departments should embrace consumerisation.

"Consumerisation can deliver value to the bottom line by helping manage costs within the business. Savings can be made by no longer needing to purchase every employee a smartphone, and significant business value can be driven by helping employees get the most for the good of the business, out of the tools and services they are used to using in their leisure time."

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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