Breach, Data Security, Incident Response, Network Security, TDR

Study: Federal employees risk security to use personal mobile devices

Sensitive government data may be at risk due to agencies failing to implement bring your own device (BYOD) policies.

In a Lookout survey of a thousand federal employees, 37 percent said they are willing to sacrifice government security to use a personal device at work despite understanding security concerns, and 40 percent of those working at agencies with policies preventing the use of personal smartphones admitted the rules have little to no impact on their behavior.

Lookout's State of Federal BYOD report also found that 24 percent of employees install apps from places other than official app stores, and that 18 percent reported encountering malware on their devices.

Bob Stevens, VP of Federal Systems at Lookout, told that agencies should recognize and develop policies that correspond to the risks.

“BYOD helps make employees more productive,” Stevens said. “People want to be able to use their mobile devices at work.”

Stevens also said that policy alone won't solve the problem and that agencies should invest in mobile device management (MDM) software, encryption tools and applications that can monitor devices and alert users and agencies to malicious software.

“Because there hasn't been a publicized breach via a mobile device it remains at the bottom of the priority list,” Stevens said. He went on to say that it's not practical for the government to provide every single employee with a secured device so a formal BYOD policy makes sense, and noted that several private sector organizations are implementing these kind of practices.

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