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Corporate mobile devices remain vulnerable according to survey.

Sybase IAnywhere : 22 May, 2007  (Technical Article)
With large amounts of unencrypted sensitive data on employees' mobile devices and high risk of loss, corporate data remains extremely vulnerable according to Sybase iAnywhere.
A survey conducted by Sybase iAnywhere at the 2007 InfoSecurity Europe exhibition has shown that the majority of companies are still failing to encrypt company-sensitive information on mobile devices.

60% of IT professionals surveyed had sensitive business information, such as emails and passwords, stored on their mobile devices. Results from the same survey at last year's InfoSec indicated that 62% of companies encrypted this mobile device data, but this number had slipped to just 45% in this year's results.

Another surprising result was the decrease in the number of people surveyed who had the capability to remotely wipe their device after it was lost - this number shrank from 53% in 2006 to a worrying 27% in 2007. This is possibly due to an increased variety of device platforms in use today. Only 22% of respondents were
lucky enough to get their device back after it was lost or stolen, compared to 49% last year.

It seems that alcohol has become a greater culprit in the past 12 months with 22% of respondents having lost a device at the pub, compared to 9% last year. Three respondents said they had left their mobile device on the roof of their car and then driven away, and one respondent was convinced they had lost their device in the boot of their car.

Additional survey questions this year asked respondents if their company offered security training and support to employees using mobile devices - only 47% said yes. When asked about their financial spend on IT security, 68% of companies had increased budget available in 2007.

The survey then asked if respondents were responsible for a series of security steps required to secure a mobile device. 45% indicated that they are required to initiate data back-up for their device themselves, and 29% are required to initiate data encryption. 25% have to choose which specific data should be encrypted, and 22% need to run Windows updates in order to apply security patches to their laptops. 30% must proactively switch on the PIN protection function on their mobile device. Overall, a massive 76% of respondents are relied on to undertake at least one security task for their mobile device themselves. These figures indicate that organisations are still placing a large burden of responsibility for security in the hands of their user, and not
automating the processes.

Mike Oliver, UK and Nordics Marketing Manager for Sybase iAnywhere, commented: 'It is very surprising and disappointing that, despite increased IT security budgets being available, seemingly so few companies are using this money to improve mobile data security. More and more users carry and lose sensitive corporate information, yet the percentage of that data that is protected has actually decreased over the past 12 months.

'It is also worrying that over three quarters of end users carry some burden of responsibility for security. This is a policy that's bound to fail. Their users are salespeople, service engineers, doctors or nurses... not IT operatives, and hence unlikely to manually perform tasks that could and should be automated by central IT.'

Sybase iAnywhere's Afaria software provides frontline management and security for mobile devices such as laptops and tablet PCs, handhelds and smartphones. The Afaria product is a core component of the Sybase iAnywhere Information Anywhere Suite, a platform which addresses converging enterprise requirements
for mobile email, security, device management and application enablement.

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