Many UK organisations are opening themselves up to security breaches as the use of mobile working continues to take off, according to the latest SafeNet information security survey.
The number of organisations which support remote working for more than 50 per cent of their employees has risen from 18 per cent in 2006 to 26 per cent in 2007.
But the report also showed that 61 per cent of the 1,200 senior IT and security professionals surveyed are still relying on passwords to protect their corporate networks.
"An increase of eight per cent of the mobile workforce is significant as this translates to hundreds of thousands of staff working outside the office firewall," said Gary Clark, vice president of SafeNet EMEA.
"However, organisations trying to reap the benefits of mobile working without implementing adequate security technology and processes to protect the network are sitting on a security time bomb."
Alternative methods, such as two-factor authentication, have long been considered more secure than password protection.
But just 15 per cent of survey respondents use tokens to secure remote access for mobile workers, and only eight and three per cent respectively use smartcards and/or biometric solutions.
"As organisations decentralise, the amount of sensitive business information floating outside the firewall will rise. This poses significant security threats for businesses, causing more stress for the IT director and senior management," said Clark.
"Mobile working and security do not have to be mutually exclusive or even a trade-off. Organisations need to adapt their security measures to include more flexible forms of working that allow authorised people in and keep unauthorised people out."
The message does appear to be sinking in, however, as almost a third of respondents admitted that unauthorised access to information systems by outsiders is their primary security concern.
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