As part of our look ahead at 2015, let's examine how cyber security is expected to shift in the coming year. To begin, we'll look at mobile devices and new research that shows trends in device security and the cyber threats your clients could face.
The research we'll examine below shows us three things about mobile security:
- Mobile devices are now a common part of the workplace, even replacing the computer as a primary device for some employees.
- When compared to computers, mobile devices are much more susceptible to cyber attacks.
- Businesses don't account for BYOD risks and often underinvest in mobile security.
These factors will likely lead to more cyber risks for businesses that don't properly secure their mobile technology. To better understand these risks, let's take a closer look at the numbers.
Mobile Device Security: A Tale of Phishing, Theft, and Lax Security
It's no surprise that mobile technology is becoming increasingly integrated in the workplace, but it is surprising the extent to which employees now rely on mobile devices.
- According to HackSurfer, 33 percent of workers use only mobile devices for their jobs.
- That 33 percent is projected to jump to 50 percent over the next 12 months.
That's great news for employers, as it means employees always have access to their work and can be more productive (when they're not playing Minecraft). But let's not celebrate too quickly.
Mobile devices have one major flaw: security. Mobile devices come with more cyber risks than computers and laptops:
- According to Security Intelligence, mobile users are three times more vulnerable to phishing attacks.
- ChannelProNetwork reports that roughly 1 out of 20 employer-issued mobile devices is stolen.
Why is security so much weaker on mobile devices? Some of it just has to do with the platform. Phones are easy to steal. Phishing attacks are probably more effective because users have smaller screens and have a harder time telling a phishing email or webpage from a legitimate one. Furthermore, with users logging onto to all sorts of open Wi-Fi and non-secure networks, a smartphone is just begging for a cyber attack.
Despite these concerns, businesses completely underinvest in mobile security and disregard BYOD risks:
- 33 percent of businesses don't have a BYOD security plan in place.
- 75 percent of employees say their mobile device security plan is lax.
What can we take away from this research? While mobile devices have proliferated, security hasn't caught up with technology. Businesses are willing to invest in mobile devices, but don't have the IT infrastructure to protect those devices (or employees' personal devices in a BYOD workplace).
This security gap could be problematic in 2015. But it could also represent opportunities because clients may be looking to hire IT consultants to shore up their security.
The Best News in 2015: Increases in IT Sales
Each year, Computer World surveys around 200 IT executives and asks what they plan on spending their money on and how their budgets will change in the coming year. For IT contractors, the survey offers a glimpse of what to expect. This year, it offers some good news: 43 percent of IT departments expect to increase their budgets.
As you would guess, businesses want to spend more on mobile technology and security. 35 percent of these companies expect to invest in more mobile tech and 46 percent will invest more into their security protection and prevention.
While 2015 will come with more risk, it could also bring serious rewards for IT contractors who are able to deliver to security-conscious clients.