Verizon warned this week that a significant number of businesses and other organizations fell short in securing their mobile data due to a lack of awareness about threats — or by placing a higher priority on getting products to market.
The carrier’s 2018 Mobile Security Index found that although 93 percent of survey respondents said mobile devices presented serious security threats, just 14 percent of their organizations implemented “the most basic cybersecurity practices.”
Less than 60 percent restricted the apps employees could download to their devices, and less than 40 percent changed all default passwords or used strong two-factor authentication. Less than half used device encryption, and less than one-third deployed mobile endpoint security, Mobile Device Management or Enterprise Mobility Management.
A majority — more than 60 percent — said a “lack of understanding of threats and solutions” was a barrier to mobile security, but nearly one-third “admitted to sacrificing mobile security to improve business performance.”
“Think about that. One in three organizations that we work with, buy from, turn to for healthcare, and that govern the communities in which we live, have put speed and profit before the safety of their data — and our data,” wrote Verizon SVP Thomas Fox.
About 80 percent of participants feared disruption of their business practices from security issues more than data theft, and the same margin was concerned about either intentional or unintentional employee misuse. The latter was the top concern among organizations that allow employees to use personal devices for business purposes.
The report indicated that the health care and public sector segments were particularly impacted by security issues, with about one-third of respondents in each category suffering data loss or security-related downtime.
In addition to ensuring implementation of basic security practices, the report recommended that companies and organizations regulate app use and provide regular employee security training. Officials also said companies should review employees’ access to systems and establish incident response plans.
“As mobility becomes more integral to business operations in today’s digital economy — from supply chain management to IoT-enabled sensors to customer-facing mobile apps — protecting mobile platforms is critical,” Fox said in a statement.
The survey, commissioned by Verizon, was conducted by an independent research company in the second half of 2017. It included more than 600 professionals involved in procuring or managing mobile devices for their organizations.