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Smartphone addiction is security danger

28 September 2018

A major security threat to UK companies is posed by our growing addiction to smartphones.

CNC

A new Ofcom report shows that, on average, people check their phones every 12 minutes. This suggests they’re doing it while working – and not just in break times. In fact, a report last year from Office Team highlights that the average office employee spends 56 minutes per day using their mobile at work for non-work activity.

This year’s Ofcom Communications Market Report finds that 71 per cent of smartphone users never turn off their phones.

And the temptation to use your phone at work has become even greater as many companies have adopted Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies to enable staff to have access to personal phones during the working day. The advantage of BYOD is that employees can be contacted more easily and may have work-related apps on their personal devices.

The downside is that BYOD blurs the lines between work and home. There’s a nebulous area where an employee is required to check his work schedule on his own device but must not share confidential information his work entails. This presents a security risk for companies.

Burgeoning threat

Gary Jowett, from Computer & Network Consultants in Brighton, said: “If the use of personal phones at work is not properly managed, it will expose your organisation to potential security breaches. While Ofcom’s report shows that mobile voice calls actually declined 1.7 per cent since 2017, this is probably because smartphones give employees a wide range of ways to communicate that managers won’t notice so easily such as personal emails, texts and social media.”

The answer as PC Mag highlights, could be a Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution. Essentially, it’s security software which helps you monitor, manage and secure employees’ mobile devices that employ different mobile service providers and different mobile operating systems.

Another worry highlighted by Ofcom’s report is that 7 out of 10 respondents use their smartphones on their journey to work and nearly half of them to complete “essential tasks”.

Gary said: “If tasks involving confidential or commercially-sensitive information are being completed during the journey to work, then there may be a problem with the way a company, or an individual, manages the daily workload. Data protection law and confidentiality rules are also being ignored. It’s a threat to your business which could cause a major breach of customer data, badly damaging your company’s reputation and leading to financial penalties from the regulatory authorities.”

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