Companies should be protecting personal devices: Intel Security

If you are an employer who met resistance from workers in the past when implementing information security, the time may be ripe to revisit the practice.

This was a key finding in a recent joint survey conducted by Intel Security and market research firm MSI Research, which surveyed 2,510 IT professionals in 12 countries in areas of BYOD and using workplace devices.

The results showed that, towards the end of 2014, 65 per cent of respondents felt that workplace IT was responsible for protecting personal data on work devices, not just corporate data.

“Users don’t usually concern themselves with security, but there is a willingness to participate in security when it’s driven by their employers,” said Simon Hunt, chief technology officer of endpoint security at Intel Security.

He said that while he expected that the vast majority of respondents, who were aged 18-65, used personal devices for work-related activities, he was surprised at how expectations on responsibility have shifted.  In the U.S. and Canada, in particular, a greater number of respondents (32 and 33 per cent respectively) felt that the vast majority of their work was confidential, as opposed to other countries, including Italy, the Netherlands and Japan (29, 20, and 19 per cent respectively).

“It’s almost as users are saying ‘I want you to protect me,’” said Hunt, citing examples such as personal banking.

“The fact that they’re giving companies responsibility and authority for it is very positive.  There’s a willingness there.”

In practical terms, it could mean that users may be willing to accept certain corporate controls on personal devices, which used to be out of the question. It’s a result of the trend reversing from company-issued devices towards BYOD and consumerization in the workplace – a trend that is fueled by personal and work lives converging online, Hunt said.

He added that in his view, it would be a step in the right direction for a company to offer users protection not just for corporate but also personal data on their personal devices, as it would require “no more effort.”

“Where companies used to have resistance in implementing security, now there is a positive climate,” said Hunt. “Now is the time to revisit that.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Dave Yin
Dave Yin
Digital Staff Writer at Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel.

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