Small Business Owners Overlooking Mobile Security, Creating Opportunities

Securing the growing number of personal mobile devices their employees are using to access internal networks and information systems needs to be much more prominent on the minds of small business owners. While a majority allow employees to use mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, for work purposes, only a few have actually taken steps to ensure those devices are safe from cyber threats: a recent survey conducted by the Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU) for AT&T found.

Eight-three percent of small businesses allow employees to use personal electronic devices at work; 90% allow them to access work email via mobile devices and 41% allow them to access business files, according to survey results.

Just 65% indicated information and data security of wireless devices was a concern compared to 91% who said that they were concerned about computer and online data security. Just 29% have installed anti-virus protection on smartphones.

NYU Polytechnic Institute researchers also found that 82% of small businesses have taken steps to secure company laptops. Only 32% are doing the same for smartphones, and 39% for tablets. Of those who aren't taking steps to ensure mobile device security, less than half (42%) have plans to increase security, according to an AT&T press release.

 "There is a troubling disconnect between business owners who want to keep data safe and the necessary steps to protect it," said Ed Amoroso, Chief Security Officer, AT&T.  "With more employees using mobile devices, especially personal devices, business data is increasingly vulnerable to cyber threats. Protecting critical information can be easy and affordable, and small businesses need to recognize the reality of today's environment - this is a step they can't afford to ignore."

When asked if their small businesses had experienced a cyber or online security incident nearly 4 in 10 (37%) said they'd been the victim of a security breach such as a virus, mobile malware or phishing. Twenty-one percent said they'd been victimized within the last two years.

"Small businesses need to better understand their risk profile," said Nair Memon, Professor of Computer Science and Engineering and founding director of The Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Security and Privacy (CRISSP) at NYU-Poly. "This means treating every device that touches your network, from laptops to smartphones, as vulnerabilities and ensuring that security is built into the equation at every level."

Advising small business customers on these threats as well as offering consultative solutions presents a significant business opportunity for CHR clients. CHR Solutions can help clients develop a comprehensive suite of business class services to include this opportunity combined with IT and cloud solutions that maximize revenue and profit opportunities.

Written by Kevin Kutcher at 13:30
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