Mobile devices 'inadequately protected', survey finds

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IT managers are failing to protect data on corporate mobile devices by not enforcing PIN codes and passwords to protect the data stored on their laptops, PDAs and mobile phones, according to a new study.

Nearly eight in ten (78 percent) of 104 IT professionals surveyed by mobile security company iAnywhere, had sensitive information, such as emails and passwords, stored on their mobile devices. Only 62 percent of respondents protected this information via encryption, passwords or PIN codes.

The most common place where respondents had mislaid devices was on public transport, with 57 percent of respondents leaving devices on subway systems and trains. Two respondents said they had left their mobile device at an airport security check desk.

Other popular places for losing devices were while shopping (14 percent), at the pub (nine percent) and at home (five percent). One respondent who left his phone in a petrol station (with all pin numbers for credit cards listed in it), another lost his phone at the Live 8 concert and a very adventurous respondent dropped his PDA into an African lake.

Although 53 percent of people surveyed had the capability to remotely wipe their device after it was lost, all those surveyed who claimed this capability had lost Blackberry devices. Other devices - such as pocket PCs, laptops and smartphones - appeared to be almost totally unprotected.

Mike Oliver, Europe, Middle East and Africa marketing manager for iAnywhere, said that it was alarming that so many IT managers are still failing to protect their mobile data.

“Even enforcing a simple PIN code on a mobile device goes a long way towards stopping a third party from accessing sensitive and often critical information should the device be lost or stolen,” he said.

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