Apricorn – the manufacturer of software-free, 256-bit AES XTS hardware-encrypted USB drives – has unveiled new research results highlighting that 95% of organisations surveyed in the UK recognise problems with mobile and remote working. Worryingly, nearly one-in-five (18%) suggest that their mobile workers don’t care about security.
All (ie 100%) of those IT decision-makers surveyed noted that they had employees who work remotely at least some of the time, with an average of over one third (37%) of staff members who do so. With an increase in the numbers of people working remotely, this means more data moving beyond the confines of the corporate network. Organisations need to ensure that any data – be it at rest or on the move – remains secure.
While many are taking steps to ensure their data is protected, for instance by implementing security policies for mobile working and Bring Your Own Device, just under half of respondents (44%) still agree that their organisation expects their mobile workers to expose them to the risk of a breach. Roughly one third (32%) say that their organisation has already experienced a data loss or breach as a direct result of mobile working, while 30% of respondents from organisations where the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies are concerned that mobile working is an area that will most likely cause them to be non-compliant.
53% cited that one of their Top Three biggest problems with remote working is due to the complexity and management of the technology that employees need and use. Over half (54%) say that, while their organisation’s mobile workers are willing to comply with requests relating to security measures, employees lack the necessary skills or technologies required to keep data safe. Nearly one third (29%) take the radical approach of physically blocking all removable media, while a further 22% ask employees not to use removable media (although they have no technology means by which to enforce this).
“The number of organisations blocking removable media has increased compared with responses to the same question in 2017, when 18% said they were physically blocking all removable devices,” said Jon Fielding, managing director for the EMEA at Apricorn. “A unilateral ban isn’t the solution and ignores the problem altogether, while also presenting a barrier to effective working. Instead, businesses should identify corporately approved, hardware-encrypted devices that are only provided to staff with a justified business case for having such. The approved devices should then be white-listed on the IT infrastructure, blocking access to all non-approved media.”
Risk of data breaches
Despite strict security policies, mobile working can still leave organisations wide open to the risk of a data breach. Half (50%) of respondents admitted one of the three biggest problems with mobile working is that they cannot be certain their data is adequately secured. Only around half enforce and are completely confident in their encrypted data in transit (52%), in the cloud (52%) and at rest (51%).
“While the new GDPR legislation requires the ‘Pseudonymisation’ and encryption of personal data, encryption isn’t a new concept, and keeping data secure has always been imperative to any organisation handling sensitive information,” added Fielding.
In conclusion, Fielding stated: “Organisations are simply not following security Best Practice. They need to implement and enforce policies and provide employee training to ensure compliance with the GDPR. Failing to put processes in place is putting confidential data at risk. Organisations now face the prospect of being fined even before a breach has occurred.”