Mobile porn growing threat to corporate networks

Opinion

Mobile porn growing threat to corporate networks

Most IT departments have long had policies in place that have largely wiped out the problem of pornographic websites being viewed over the corporate network.

However, according to research from Damovo when it comes to mobile device policies we still seem to be living in the Wild West.

A poll of 200 UK IT directors at firms with over 1,000 heads found that many workers were using work-issued mobile devices for personal browsing.

Two thirds of directors said they found enforcing mobile usage policies difficult and 88% said that they would like better visibility of their employees' mobile usage.

"Sophisticated mobile devices are becoming the de-facto tool of choice for business users, yet it is clear that this is also brining a whole raft of security and productivity concerns," said Damovo UK portfolio manager Alex Donnelly.

"Without properly provisioning and having an effective mobile device management strategy in place, organisations are going to incur increased support costs and risk losing the visibility and security they had created in the fixed desktop environment," he warned.

IT directors also cited social networks, mobile gaming and mobile TV as threats, with 92% saying that as the number of mobile devices in use on their network increased so did the number of threats presenting themselves, but it is the problem of pornography on corporate networks which raises the most concern. 

Aside from the offence that may be caused, x-rated websites frequently harbour spyware, adware and viruses, and many use shady tricks to pass traffic to 'affiliate' websites that make it hard for the hapless user to extricate himself, according to this recent report by the BBC.

It is a cornerstone of our civil liberties that as long as it is not illegal, whatever content people choose to view in their own time is entirely up to them.

However there is no excuse for accessing porn on a corporate network and it is shocking to learn that even though the risks are well known, employees are still prepared to take such blatant risks with both the security of work-provided equipment and their own careers.

Damovo's research also highlights the need for tighter procurement policies in the enterprise world - many mobile devices are bought on a departmental level rather than through IT and 81% of IT directors said it was harder to manage and secure devices procured on the fly.

This also means that organisations are left with different devices running different software versions with differing levels of protection.

Out of the 200 surveyed, 82% said that inconsistent upgrade cycles were leading to increased security concerns.

This is where the channel can best take action to assist their customers in safeguarding their networks and sparing end-users the embarrassment of being caught out.

This was first published in June 2010

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