Business leaders are conscious that employees are increasingly seeking to use their own mobile devices in the workplace.
In recent years, as the popularity of smartphones and media tablets has increased, they have been faced with multiple requests to allow the use of consumer IT on corporate networks.
However, despite the growth of bring your own device (BYOD) and its increasing acceptance in the UK workplace, it appears many firms are failing to take the steps necessary to protect themselves.
Research conducted by mobile device management (MDM) provider Zenprise revealed that some firms are leaving themselves dangerously exposed to security risks.
Just a handful of organisations are implementing formal policies that govern the use of personal devices in the workplace.
Businesses taking too many chances
"The security implications of enabling access to corporate networks and resources from personal devices are significant," Zenprise noted.
"Without careful management, this could lead to the malicious or accidental leakage of sensitive corporate data."
But still the firm reported that just eight per cent of UK businesses and organisations have a formal BYOD policy in place.
"Even when BYOD policies are in place, businesses are not always convinced these procedures offer adequate protection against breaches," Zenprise stated.
Only 31 per cent of respondents said they had no concerns about security - suggesting companies realise they can do more to safeguard their systems and data.
Security 'must be a priority'
Matt Peachey, vice-president and general manager for EMEA at Zenprise, said the fact that enterprises are rushing to implement BYOD initiatives is "no surprise", thanks to the convenience and ever-growing popularity of mobile devices.
"However, the security risks posed by this new level of mobility are clearly being overlooked by businesses, and with data breach incidents continuing to rise, it is an issue which simply cannot be ignored," he stated.
“With so much to gain from effective BYOD initiatives – which, when done right, can deliver many measurable business benefits as well as supporting growth and innovation – organisations cannot afford to cuts any corners when it comes to security."
Mr Peachey said comprehensive security processes should be "absolutely top-of-the-agenda" for any firm looking to enable BYOD, and businesses would be wise to take a holistic approach which focuses on securing data and applications in use, as well as on the mobile devices connecting to the network.
"With the best available tools in place, incidents such as the loss of an executive’s tablet can be easily mitigated by instantly wiping it clean, reducing the headache for IT and preventing the potential fall-out from a breach of corporate data," he noted.
"It really is vital that organisations urgently re-address the security of enterprise mobility. Indeed, with so much at stake, this must become a top priority for modern businesses as we move into 2013."
Posted by Alex Boardman