While 62 per cent of organisations have already banned the use of such networks, a further 20 per cent plan to do so in future, according to research by iPass.

And 94 per cent of the firms surveyed in the UK, the US, France and Germany say that free WiFi hotspots are a significant security threat, with 92 per cent worried about the security challenges of a growing mobile workforce.

“WiFi is a disruptive technology that has changed the way people work, but in recent times it has also introduced formidable mobile security concerns,” said Keith Waldorf, vice president for engineering at iPass.

“Being connected is the basic requirement of every mobile worker. However, with increasing numbers of businesses falling afoul to security breaches, the number of organisations expressing a concern about mobile security is high.

“The use of free and insecure WiFi hotspots in particular is a growing concern as organisations balance the need for low-cost and convenient connectivity against the potential threat posed by hackers.”

37 per cent of firms said free WiFi hotspots are their biggest mobile security concern, while 36 per cent said it is their own employees’ lack of attention to security and 27 per cent are worried about the devices they use.

Meanwhile, 88 per cent of organisations say they struggle to consistently enforce a safe mobile usage policy.

Although nearly two thirds of businesses overall have banned workers from using free WiFi networks, 47 per cent of those in the UK said they do not actively prohibit this.

In the UK, 64 per cent of firms say their own employees are their biggest mobile security threat. For more on the report, see the iPass website.

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