New research commissioned by Absolute Software reveals that the benefits of consistent mobile policies is still not understood by businesses, despite widespread use of mobile devices in the workplace, both under bring your own device (BYOD) or corporate owned, personally-enabled (CoPE) environments. Nearly 85% of U.S. companies allow their employees to personally manage their own mobile devices, but only 45% require a password to access corporate networks and data – leaving a large gap in overall security.

Nearly every employee today uses a mobile device to access some form of company information or application, sanctioned or not. However, many organizations are inconsistent with their mobile policies, their security falling victim to the fragmentation of devices and services available to employees that choose them. Given the rate of adoption and the huge risks, we hope this information sparks companies to invest in consistent mobile practices.

Research firm Vanson Bourne conducted the survey on our behalf, surveying 600 IT decision makers from a variety of vertical sectors in the US along with 600 in the UK, France and Germany.

A Snapshot of Mobile Security in the US Workplace:

  • 31% of companies surveyed do not have employee agreements in place to remotely lock devices and wipe data in the event of loss or theft
  • 48% of companies require employees to purchase mobile anti-virus/malware software, despite tests showing the majority of mobile anti-virus solutions block less than 65% of malware detected
  • 35% of respondents do not have a formal procedure for verifying and distributing apps
  • 48% of companies surveyed do not have an app blacklist while 67% do use whitelisting to limit app access
  • 59% of the time, apps are blacklisted for productivity reasons, with games blacklisted more often than social network, cloud-based, and photo apps
  • Facebook was the most common blacklisted app, followed by Angry Birds and Dropbox respectively
  • Despite email being the most commonly requested app by employees, 68% of apps developed in-house are internal communications apps
  • 20% of companies rely solely on BYOD to support employees; 42% use a hybrid model of BYOD and CoPE

Join the discussion on Twitter by using or following #ABTstats or view the complete survey summary here.