September 11, 2014
When it comes to information security in the workplace, smartphones are changing things – and fast.
The technology research firm Gartner says that by 2016, 40% of the global workforce will be mobile, with 67% of workers using smartphones. (Those numbers are not that surprising when you consider that 90% of American adults have a cell phone today, and 58% of those are smartphones according to Pew Research Center’s statistics).
On the job, smartphones allow employees to do business and access information from virtually anywhere, at any time – and that leads to greater productivity.
On the other hand, the risk of security threats and data breaches increases with 24/7 mobile connectivity and more private information than ever being stored on mobile devices. Smartphones are also being stolen by identity thieves. A Consumer Reports survey showed about 3.1 million consumers’ smartphones were stolen in 2013, and almost half as many were lost.
The good news is there are moves to build more protection into phones. The Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment would equip all phones with the ability to remotely wipe data from a lost or stolen phone by 2015. The Smartphone Theft Prevention Act would go one step further and require a ‘kill switch’ that would have to work globally.
Also, the Mobile Device Theft Deterrence Act would impose tough penalties for those who steal devices or modify them illegally.
At the same time, there are strategies that will help safeguard personally identifiable information on employees’ smartphones.
Here are more tips on information security and how to improve safety practices and protocols in the workplace.