BYOD heightening data security risks, warns ICO

Monday 11 March 2013

Customer service

Too many employers appear to have a ‘laissez faire’ attitude to the use of personal devices, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has claimed.

Research conducted by YouGov found that many firms are allowing employees to use personal laptops, tablets and smartphones at work without taking the necessary IT security precautions.

The survey revealed that 47 per cent of UK adults now use consumer technology for business purposes, having embraced the bring your own device (BYOD) trend.

And fewer than three in ten are provided with guidance on how their devices should be used in this capacity.

The ICO said this has raised concerns that sensitive information could potentially be exposed by BYOD employees via their mobile devices.

Simon Rice, group manager for technology at the ICO, noted that BYOD can offer "significant benefits" to organisations, but employers must have "adequate controls" in place to make sure information is kept secure.

“The cost of introducing these controls can range from being relatively modest to quite significant, depending on the type of processing being considered, and might even be greater than the initial savings expected," he stated.

"Certainly the sum will pale into insignificance when you consider the reputational damage caused by a serious data breach. This is why organisations must act now."

Posted by Alex Boardman