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The huge risk smartphones pose to data security

Bring-your-own-device policies are a common way businesses supply computing to workers, but personal smartphones and tablets can be a serious threat to workplace data security.


The data security of many Australian businesses is at risk due to the spread of bring-your-own-device policies. Australia’s love affair with smartphones and tablets has seen many workers demand to use their preferred device in the workplace, creating a serious cybersecurity threat.

It is a demand that many employers have acquiesced to, but one that has opened up a minefield of potential security threats, as many consumer devices were not originally designed to corporate and government security specifications. According to the general manager of backup and mobility specialists Acronis, Lincoln Goldsmith, organisations are striving to achieve a balance between security and productivity. He says workers generally don’t think about their own data security. Hence it is up to employers to provide them with the right tools to remain both productive and secure. “There is a lot of education that businesses need to deliver to users around the security of corporate data,” Goldsmith says. “If they really understand the meanings and the consequences behind why something is in place, they are more likely to go ahead and use it.”

This problem will become significantly more complex with the arrival of the Internet of Things, where everyday devices such as lights, home appliances and even vehicles are connected to networks.

“Every single device represents an end point where data can be lost or compromised or stolen,” Goldsmith says. “So as a business, taking a more holistic approach to how our employees and our users use data will then give us a better understanding of what the infrastructure and the solutions and processes need to look like to maintain that fine balance between productivity and security.”

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