Commuters access confidential assets over unsecured Wi-Fi

September 27th 2013

Individuals throughout the business world are using mobile devices for more work-related tasks than ever before. Unfortunately, not all of these practices are safe, as many employees will circumvent information protection guidelines for the sake of convenience. This problem is especially noticeable when people try to complete mission-critical tasks remotely by using unsanctioned Wi-Fi connections.

A recent GFI Software study of more than 1,000 commuters revealed that these challenges are particularly difficult for companies in the U.S., though Canadian firms are experiencing similar problems. The survey revealed that more than 95 percent of employees use open, public Wi-Fi connections at least once a week to finish corporate tasks on their way home from work.

"The research findings reveal a stark and concerning trend among commuters – one of using their personal devices to catch up on work during their commuting downtime, but doing so over highly insecure internet connections that can be easily intercepted by other users or the operator of the access point," said Walter Scott, CEO of GFI Software.

Regardless of their organization's location, decision-makers who want to have firm, comprehensive data protection initiatives need establish security plans for when individuals use mobile devices.

The evolving endpoint variable

While educating the workplace on best practices when using personal mobile computing platforms can be an effective method for mitigating risk, it doesn't always work. In some cases, individuals will blatantly ignore endpoint protection policies for the sake of convenience. GFI highlighted this obstacle, noting that more than 26 percent of respondents are aware of and concerned about the potential risks associated with using unsecured Wi-Fi connections but continue to do so anyway.

A CRN report noted that using real-time endpoint monitoring tools can provide decision-makers with the insight to either adjust policies or implement more rigorous security technologies. Because unjustified monitoring can result in privacy concerns, executives should take steps to ensure the workforce knows they may be monitored when using corporate assets outside of the workplace. This will often instill a sense of responsibility, encouraging individuals to follow best practices even when they are not in the office.

The proliferation of mobile devices has made endpoint security more important than ever before. Canadian companies, as well as those located throughout the developed business world, need to take steps to ensure individuals understand how inappropriately using mobile gadgets can introduce significant security threats.