How Businesses Can Avoid the High Cost of Mobile Data Breaches

More than 79 percent of companies experienced a mobile security incident (loss of data, malware attacks, lost devices) in 2012, according to “The Impact of Mobile Devices on Information Security” report commissioned by Check Point Software Technologies Ltd.

The study found that 96 percent of companies have more personal devices connecting to their corporate networks year after year. In fact, 45 percent have over five times as many personal mobile devices as they had two years ago.

In addition, 94 percent of companies revealed that their biggest mobile security concern is loss of corporate data and 66 percent believe careless employees posed a bigger security risk than cybercriminals.

Yet, despite these figures and the influx of personal devices in the workplace, 63 percent of companies reported that are not managing corporate data on employee-owned devices. Corporate information contained in these devices includes not just contacts, emails and calendars, but also customer data, confidential notes and network login credentials. Not having a mobile data management system or security policy in place can come at a high cost for business and enterprises.

The costs of fines, legal fees and potential private lawsuits associated with a mobile security incident add up. According to the report, 52 percent of large companies say the cost of mobile security incidents exceeded $500,000 last year. Incidents for 45 percent of business with less than 1,000 employees cost more than $100,000.

To mitigate this issue, companies must educate their employees on acceptable mobile security practices and put a mobile policy in place to regulate mobile device usage in the workplace. Simple measures such as only using secure Wi-Fi connections and saving data in the cloud can make a big impact in protecting sensitive mobile data.

However, even with the best mobile security practices in place, incidents can occur. Because of this, it’s also important for businesses to invest in insurance policies specifically related to mobile incidents. This insurance will help pay for the costs associated with notifying those affected by a breach and corresponding fines.

Enterprises also need to consider the data security issues that can arise during the end-of-life management of mobile devices. Partnering with a trusted asset recovery and recycling company to reimburse your employees for the value of their devices, while ensuring sensitive data is protected, is critical to preventing a data breach.

Many asset recovery and recycling companies provide poor data security measures such as only performing a factory reset, which can leave residual data on devices. Enterprises should seek out data security experts in the recycling industry who have rigorous, multi-step processes for data deletion and quality assurance.

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