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Nearly half of IT leaders are being forced to take security risks to enable mobile working, according to new statistics.

Research by Vanson Bourne and VMware showed that 45 per cent of IT decision makers are under so much pressure to deliver on mobility that they are willing to take calculated compromises on the security of organisational data, potentially putting it at risk.

In fact, the survey found that 62 per cent of IT leaders believe the benefits of mobility outweigh the security issues it presents.

71 per cent of IT decision makers say it is employees pushing for more mobility, with 24 per cent of employees believing a lack of mobile working is holding back productivity.

Meanwhile, 27 per cent of IT leaders said C-level executives are putting pressure on IT staff to enable them to access data from their own mobile devices, even if this goes against policy.

Dor Zakai, director EUC EMEA sales engineering at VMware AirWatch, said this was less about ignorance and more about a need to get things done – even if there is risk involved.

“It’s not so much a lack of understanding, but rather the potential risk of falling behind the competition due to a lack of agility in responding to market demand and changes,” he said.

“As cyber threats and attacks hit the headlines more and more frequently, business leaders are becoming increasingly aware of the impact a security breach could have on their organisation. That said, they have to carry out a delicate balancing act between protecting the business and its data, and digital transformation through mobility, to remain competitive.”

Only 45 per cent of UK employees said they are aware of all their organisations’ mobile policies, meaning they may be unaware if they are breaching them, and 18 per cent said they frequently go against those they do know of in order to boost productivity.

34 per cent of the workers questioned said they take greater care of securing data on their own devices than on their corporate devices.

Zakai said firms can encourage better security practices with strong internal marketing campaigns and by placing employees “at the heart of the process” so it does not feel like IT leaders are imposing processes and technologies on them “from the sidelines”. He added that gamification can help to engage workers with security.

“Ultimately, employees need to be given information on security which is easily digestible and relates to their day-to-day tasks as closely as possible,” he said. “By presenting it in an interactive format, they will become more understanding of security policies, which has the added benefit of improving collaboration within the organisation…

“It’s all about how you position these policies internally within the wider context of the business. It’s the employees who are going to be affected by the decision, so why not make them part of the process? It’s important to show them that key IT decisions are made with them in mind, and highlight the benefit they get from robust security and new technology.”

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