Security Market Segment LS
Thursday, 27 August 2015 11:00

BYOD Apple devices a business security risk Featured


Employees using their own personal Apple devices at work puts businesses at greater risk of major security breaches and raises the threat level to company systems.

The wide use of BYOD Apple devices and lack of security and management of the devices also exposes companies to significant liabilities and potential legal action, with a new research report commissioned by identity security specialist Centrify finding that many employees use their devices to access work email, corporate documents and business applications.

According to the research, undertaken by Dimensional Research, despite the popularity of Apple devices in the workplace, businesses do not invest enough resources to secure or manage them, raising the security threat level to the company significantly. For instance, in the US, of 2,249 workers surveyed, nearly half (45%) said they used at least one Apple device for work purposes.

What’s more, more than half (51%) of all the Apple BYOD devices are secured by a password that is “merely a single word” or a series of numbers, while most devices (58%) do not have software installed to enforce strong passwords.

Centrify senior vice president of products and marketing, Bill Mann, says the Apple survey spotlights the “massive exposures” that occur when devices do not comply with standard corporate security policies.

“In particular, customer data represents a huge liability," Mann warns.

"Disclosure of regulated information such as healthcare records could expose corporations to fines and other legal action. Most importantly, there are solutions on the market today that can handily secure Apple devices without sacrificing user productivity. It’s time for IT to take action.”

According to Mann, Centrify provides the only fully integrated enterprise solution for Apple users, devices and applications across existing corporate networks and beyond. “Whether Apple device users work inside or outside of the corporate firewall, Centrify provides all of the capabilities necessary to keep them secure and productive.”

“Centrify integrates comprehensive mobile & Mac management with Identity and Access management. Unlike standalone Enterprise Mobile Management vendors, who can only do device management and push applications to devices, Centrify integrates the ability to secure and manage devices with the identity policy required to manage app access, across devices.”  

The research also found other worrying aspects of use of BYOD Apple devices in the workplace, highlighting the significant security threat to businesses, including:

•    59% of Macs are used to access confidential company information

•    65% of Macs are used to access sensitive or regulated customer information

•    51% of iPhones in the workplace are used to gain access to business applications

•    58% of iPads in the workplace are used to gain access to business applications

•    More than half (56% ) of users report sharing their passwords with others

•    Only 17% of Apple devices have a company-supplied password manager

•    Only 28% of Apple devices have company-provided device management solutions installed

•    Only 35% of Apple devices have encryption of stored data enforced by their company

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired in 2020. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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