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Mobile devices are growing in popularity and usage in the manufacturing automation sector, however users should beware: 79 percent of businesses had a mobile security incident in the past year, in many cases incurring substantial costs, a new report said.

The report also found mobile security incidents cost over $100,000 for 42 percent of respondents, including 16 percent who put the cost at more than $500,000, according to the survey from security firm Check Point.

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The bring your own device (BYOD) trend continues its growth curve as 67 percent of firms allow personal mobile devices to connect to their networks. With that, 88 percent of devices ended up used for corporate email, 53 percent had customer data stored on them, 49 percent had corporate data in business apps, and 48 percent had network logins stored.

Despite this, 63 percent organizations said they do not attempt to manage corporate information on employee-owned devices, and just 23 percent use mobile management tools or a secure container on the device. In an interesting note, 66 percent of respondents said they felt that careless employees posed a greater risk than cybercriminals.

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Based on a survey of nearly 800 IT professionals in the UK, U.S., Canada, Germany and Japan, other key findings of the report include:

Surge in personal mobile devices connecting to the corporate network – 96 percent of respondents say the number of personal devices connecting to their corporate networks is growing, and 45 percent have more than five times as many personal mobile devices as they had two years ago.

Mobile security incidents common and costly for large & small firms – 52 percent of large businesses report mobile security incidents have cost more than $500,000 in the past year, in staff time, legal fees, fines and remediation. Even for 45 percent of firms with under 1000 staff, mobile security incidents exceeded $100,000 in the past year.

Corporate information not managed on mobile devices – 63 percent of businesses do not manage corporate information on personal devices, and 93 percent face challenges adopting BYOD policies.

Android has the greatest perceived security risks – Android was the top security offender as 49 percent of businesses said the platform had the greatest perceived security risk (up from 30 percent last year), compared to Apple, Windows Mobile, and Blackberry.

Lost data is the biggest concern in mobile security incidents – 94 percent of respondents said lost information was their biggest concern in a mobile security incident; just 10 percent expressed concern over a compliance violation or fine.

“Without question, the explosion of BYOD, mobile apps, and cloud services, has created a herculean task to protect corporate information for businesses both large and small,” said Tomer Teller, security evangelist and researcher at Check Point Software Technologies.

“An effective mobile security strategy will focus on protecting corporate information on the multitude of devices and implementing proper secure access controls to information and applications on the go. Equally important is educating employees about best practices as majority of businesses are more concerned with careless employees than cybercriminals.”

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