Employee-owned laptops (much like employee-owned tables and phones) are a growing trend and a source of risk. IT doesn't want full control over these devices, but if they're being used to access sensitive data or communications, there needs to be some sort of visibility and management, such as pushing patches or enforcing VPN usage.
Speaking to CSO, Brown, said that the enterprise is certainly not abandoning the laptop. In fact, it's quite the opposite as CIO's and IT executives are just as concerned about managing laptops as they are about phones and tablets. All of these devices have the same concerns related to compliance, protecting corporate data and applications. But laptops are just one part of the BYOD profile.
Prior to examining laptop usage, Fiberlink looked at other security metrics, including the use of passcodes on mobile devices. According to a random sampling of 1,000 customers, a majority of the passcodes allowed by IT are simple PINs (93 percent). Of those devices with PINs, 73 percent require a length of 4-5 characters, while 27 percent require greater than five characters.
Further, in July, Fiberlink looked at data risk, and discovered that of those employees who use either a personally owned mobile device, or one issued by their employer, 25 percent of them saved work-related documents into a third-party application (e.g., Dropbox, Quick Office, or Evernote); 20 percent said they've copied work-related documents into personal email; and 18 percent noted that they've used mobile devices to bypass IT's Web filtering policies.
Again, laptops with a soon to be expired OS are just one part of the problem, as this data clearly shows. Long after employees are migrated away from XP, the little things such as weak PINs and risky data handling will still pose the most risk to the business. This is why mobile device usage is such a hot topic, and just like laptops were mid-90s, something that will require planning and time before IT can get a solid handle on it.
Today's workforce is a mash-up of personal and professional gadgets, platforms, services, and applications. IT can no longer sacrifice personal usage over professional, so they're looking for ways to make them work together securely, but making that solution look as good in reality as it does on paper, is easier said than done.