Businesses told to prepare for 4G security risks

With 4G networks set to proliferate across the UK later this year, organisations will be eager to capitalise on the opportunities for greater efficiency and productivity brought by high speed connectivity.

But research suggests businesses should feel wary about throwing themselves into new systems under the technology, with many IT managers fearing their networks could become more vulnerable due to increased and more varied usage.

Security firm SecureData has released a study carried out by Vanson Bourne which spoke to 100 senior IT managers (in UK enterprises with over a thousand employees) about their hopes and fears regarding the adoption of 4G tech in the workplace, and a huge majority said they expected an increased security risk as a result of the change.

Over 80 per cent of the organisations – which ran across finance, manufacturing, retail, transport and others – believed the easier online access brought by 4G would multiply security problems due to the upsurge in activity inside the company network.

Meanwhile, 80 per cent also expected their employees to request a BYOD scheme as a result of 4G availability; a policy widely associated with security risks as sensitive data transfers to personal devices that are easily breached, and even lost altogether.

Given the security problems associated with remote access to work data, some may be surprised that only 33 per cent of the organisations surveyed had a budget assigned specifically for this issue, and SecureData’s Alan Carter says this will have to be addressed among UK enterprises before the wider arrival of 4G.

“Those waiting to see the impact 4G will have before implementing any kind of policy will leave the organisation vulnerable to more security risks. By not creating the appropriate policy and framework for employees to use personal devices, businesses are creating a bigger risk as employees will find their own ways of transferring corporate data to devices, methods which are often very risky,” he said.

“This may be done to allow employees to work from their own devices, and whilst not malicious, it could leave the organisation open to security breaches which could include the loss of highly sensitive data.

“It is vital that remote access is fully supported on an ongoing basis. If this is something a business may struggle to do internally, then outsourcing to a managed service provider would be a solution,” Carter continued. “They would provide guidance and support around the implementation of a policy as well as ongoing management. Smartphones and tablet devices are not going away and neither is the risk to corporate data held on these devices”.