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VSBs eager for mobile technology but lack resources to ensure security

Zafirah Salim | Oct. 24, 2014
Most VSBs lack the security awareness, technical expertise, and budget needed to properly protect company-issued or employee-owned mobile devices.

34 percent of Very Small Businesses (VSBs) said they have integrated mobile devices into their businesses; and this rate is similar to the rate of mobile integration reported by enterprises, which stands at 35 percent.

This is according to a Kaspersky Lab survey which polled 3,900 global IT professionals, to find out the IT challenges they encountered over the last 12 months.

This finding highlights that the smallest companies in the world are adopting mobile technology at essentially the same rate as huge companies with more than 5,000 employees. In fact, VSBs actually reported a higher rate of mobile adoption than small businesses with 26 to 99 employees, as well as large business with 1,500 to 5,000 employees.

Additionally, VSBs reported six percent more mobile integration than small businesses, and two percent more than large business. These statistics defy the perception that VSBs are confined to antiquated technology or slow to invest in IT.

Based on this survey, it is apparent that mobile technology is not restricted to businesses based on their size. However, it is also noted that expertise and resources are key limitations of VSBs as they do not have dedicated IT staff to manage technology implementations. These limitations may lead to a knowledge gap even amongst security-minded business owners, said Kaspersky in its media statement.

For example, 31 percent of VSBs listed "Securing Mobile/Portable Computing Devices" as one of their top three IT security priorities for the next 12 months. But when asked about Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies, where employees use their own mobile devices for business purposes, the survey uncovered a perception gap based on company size.

As for attitudes towards technology trends, 28 percent of VSBs agreed that BYOD introduces an increased IT security risk to their business. But large businesses and enterprises had a response rate that was nearly twice the VSB response, with 52 percent and 48 percent respectively agreeing about the risks presented by BYOD.

Kaspersky explained that common threats from employee-owned mobile devices include malware or rouge applications connecting to the company's network via the employee's device, or company data disappearing along with a lost or stolen employee device.

Mobile security on a budget

Most VSBs lack the budget and technical sophistication for advanced mobile security solutions, but they can still deploy mobile technology, including employee-owned devices, without a huge investment of time or money.

Firstly, Kaspersky recommends VSBs to beef up employee education. The first lines of protecting business data are employees with security mindsets, said Kaspersky. New employees must practice safe mobile usage, such as avoid browsing questionable websites, and they should also make an immediate report of any lost or stolen devices. 

 

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