Companies are not taking steps to educate employees on mobile device security to help protect company data, a new survey showed.

The increased use and popularity of smartphones and tablets underscores the importance of corporate data protection on these devices.

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Gartner forecasts 2013 tablet shipments to grow 67.9 percent, with shipments reaching 202 million units, while the mobile phone market will grow 4.3 percent, with volume of more than 1.8 billion units.

“We are surprised to see results so similar to last year regarding security on tablets and smartphones, especially considering the attention that has been placed on this issue,” said Rick Dakin, chief executive and chief security strategist with Coalfire, which conducted the survey of 400 individuals working in a variety of industries across North America who are not affiliated with their company’s IT department. “The results demonstrate that businesses are not using effective methods to protect critical infrastructure. Security awareness training for tablet and smartphone users should be a top priority for all organizations.”

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Recent developments in the smartphone and tablet market may lighten the load for IT departments. Apple’s iOS7, which just came out, includes a number of new security measures for lost or stolen devices.

Other important findings in the Coalfire survey include:
• 47 percent of users reported they still have no passcode on their mobile device (no change from 2012)
• 86 percent report using the same smartphone for personal and work tasks (compared to 84 percent last year)
• 33 percent report using a single password for all digital access
• 61 percent write down passwords on a piece of paper
• 47 percent said their IT department has not discussed mobile/cyber security awareness or best practices with them
• 44 percent report their company does have a mobile device usage policy
• 33.8 percent said their companies do not have the ability to remotely wipe data from mobile devices if they are locked, lost or stolen.

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