CIOs say mobile devices are organizations' weakest cybersecurity link

As mobile devices proliferate, employees' use of them is the biggest threat to corporate security, but knowing where the threats is can help inform cybersecurity protocols, according to a Harvard Business Review report.

The report cites a Tech Pro Research survey of CIOs, technology executives and IT employees in which 45 percent of respondents said mobile devices are the weak point of their cyber defenses, followed by employee data (37 percent), wireless access to networks (34 percent) and bring-your-own-device efforts (29 percent).

While securing mobile devices is challenging, adequate training and education can make companies more secure.

"Yes, mobile devices can be a problem, but like most things in the security world, the issue isn't necessarily the smartphone, tablet or laptop. The problem is us," the report, written by Tech Pro Research Editorial Director Larry Dignan, reads. "Simply put, most corporate mobile security incidents are due to humans failing to follow basic security procedures."

In addition to educating employees and upper management, companies should invest in systems to encrypt data, continually audit and retool networks and security policies and hire a digital forensics specialist to investigate security issues, according to the report.

On an employee level, the report suggests individuals set a lock and PIN on phones, enable phones' auto-lock capabilities, store as little information on the device as possible and instead back up information in the cloud, use two-factor authentication, avoid Wi-Fi connections that may not be secure and keep Bluetooth out of discovery mode when not in use, among other suggestions.

"Mobile security is likely to become the next frontier for corporate security executives as exploits and hacks become more creative," Mr. Dignan wrote. "Making mobile a regular part of your company's broader security policy and procedure framework will be critical."

More articles on cybersecurity:

Big data, cybersecurity, precision medicine among FDA's priorities in 2017
The greatest cybersecurity risk is already in the building: How to mitigate threats from the inside
Some hackers say hospitals are off-limits for ransomware attacks

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