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UK businesses have left the back door open to customer data loss

UK businesses have left the back door open to customer data loss

SCHAFFHAUSEN, Switzerland, 01 July, 2015 – Acronis is today warning that UK businesses risk losing data by allowing employees to use their own, unprotected, mobile devices for accessing work files.

Research, conducted by Arlington Research and Acronis in May, found 40 per cent of UK businesses have no security or policies in place to prevent unauthorised employees from accessing what they shouldn’t, or even sharing sensitive company information using their personal phones and mobile devices like iPads, Android and others. 40 per cent of respondents also admitted to having no policy in place to specify how employees should use their own personal devices in work. 

Under further investigation, it was discovered that one in five UK employees admit to losing a personal device, which had sensitive company data on it.

The research found 60 per cent of the UK population are using their personal devices for work, highlighting a staggering gap in data protection and lack of control by UK businesses – especially for the rising population of mobile workers. It also confirms how the average UK employee can easily access sensitive company and customer information, using it for their own benefit.

Daniel Model, Manager Sales Engineering Europe at Acronis, says, “The way people work is radically changing due to mobility. We are living in an always-on world where employees are on-demand more often and increasingly doing their work out of office. It is astounding to see how many UK businesses lack protection against unmanaged use of mobile phones and tablets – and the critical company information that is accessible on them. The door is open to a serious risk of data breach.

“We are calling for all UK businesses that are tapping into the power and productivity benefits of mobile workers to take data protection seriously and prevent easy access to and sharing of company data and remove the risks involved with mobile workers.”

The study also discovered 40 per cent of businesses have an opportunity to better train their employees to understand the risks involved in mobile privacy and protection. To help protect against data loss due to mobile device use, Acronis has created five top tips for UK businesses to consider:

1.    Create a mobile security policy – Creating a mobile device security policy doesn’t have to be complicated, but it needs to encompass devices, data and files. The simplest place to start is to ensure employees use a device key-lock and password protection. Whether you opt for VPN security, key locks, Active Directory Monitoring or endpoint security, the choice is yours. But it is time to make a policy — and stand by it.

2.    Stop making exceptions to your policy – We all know that rules are not meant to be broken; so why aren’t businesses taking their own IT policies seriously? Don’t make any exceptions, especially to senior personal. Those with access to presumably the most sensitive data in the organisation are usually allowed to break the rules. Does your CEO know his tablet could take down the business?

3.    Make data protection everyone’s responsibility – Many businesses allow employees to bring smartphones, tablets and even their own Macs or PCs into the office. Although this improves productivity and increases collaboration, a little education is needed to prevent the risks. If everyone understands the privacy risks involved with their own devices, your data could be safer and you would feel more comfortable loosening the reigns.

4.    Don’t underestimate the dangers of public clouds – When it comes to data protection, you have to worry about more than just devices. Everyone, at some point, has been guilty of saving corporate presentations or other files and documents in free public clouds, like Dropbox and Google Drive. It’s convenient instant access, but public clouds are not secure, and leave data constantly vulnerable in the digital ether, so be careful.

5.    Don’t punish mistakes too heavily – We’re all human and make mistakes. So if an employee loses a personal device, with access to your data, don’t go mad and start handing out P45s. Create a culture where employees feel happy to report the loss and you can act quickly. There is nothing worse than not being aware of a possible disaster.

Notes to editors

Study carried out during April and May 2015 on 1,016 senior UK business leaders by Arlington Research, on behalf of Acronis.

About Acronis:

Acronis unifies data protection and cybersecurity to deliver integrated, automated cyber protection that solves the safety, accessibility, privacy, authenticity, and security (SAPAS) challenges of the modern digital world. With flexible deployment models that fit the demands of service providers and IT professionals, Acronis provides superior cyber protection for data, applications, and systems with innovative next-generation antivirus, backup, disaster recovery, and endpoint protection management solutions. With award-winning AI-based antimalware and blockchain-based data authentication technologies, Acronis protects any environment - from cloud to hybrid to on-premises - at a low and predictable cost.

Founded in Singapore in 2003 and incorporated in Switzerland in 2008, Acronis now has more than 1,500 employees in 33 locations in 18 countries. Its solutions are trusted by more than 5.5 million home users and 500,000 companies, including 100% of the Fortune 1000, and top-tier professional sports teams. Acronis products are available through 50,000 partners and service providers in over 150 countries in more than 40 languages.

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