European-wide mobile usage research released today has cast light over the ‘worrying disconnect’ between IT priorities and the reality of mobile user habits, bringing with it serious security implications.
The report from mobility vendor Accellion found 73 percent of UK businesses admit to having no formal BYOD (bring your own device) corporate policy and support structure.
Despite business users requesting basic secure mobile functions, these requests are low on the list of IT priorities, leading users to seek their own ‘unregulated’ solutions.
“Despite months of headlines related to the NSA PRISM programme, businesses are operating a laissez faire approach to the security of their data in the cloud,” said Paul Steiner, Managing Director, Europe, Middle East & Africa at Accellion.
“Dealing with the whirlwind pace of mobile innovation is not just a security challenge for IT, it demands board-level scrutiny. Employees are now savvy enough technologically to seek out their own solutions, but then businesses must deal with the fallout when these solutions cause security breaches.”
UK users listed the ability to share and access files while on the move in their top three demands of mobile working. As such, it's no wonder they are turning to unrestricted consumer apps, with only 53 percent of companies currently offering this functionality on work devices.
>See also: UK workers lack BYOD guidance, ICO finds
One-third of the companies surveyed revealed they currently fail to provide an approved secure file sharing service to employees, while one-quarter said they permit users to find and use their own tools.
40 percent of UK respondents said they allow mobile users to use public cloud services, although 26 percent emphasised they allow use for only non-sensitive documents.
Across the rest of Europe, IT was even further behind in the study, with 75 percent of European companies using consumer grade file-sharing tools for work, as opposed to 46 percent in the UK.
According to the report, the UK is also leading the way in mobile deployment across Europe, with more mobile devices deployed per organisation and more support for employee-owned devices. In the UK, 17 percent of workers have three or more mobile devices for work use. And only 22 percent of UK businesses do not support mobile devices, compared to 35 percent of European companies.