By Daniel Hunter

Independent IT security service provider SecureData, has announced the launch of new independent research which looks at the impact of 4G technology on remote access and the future of the workforce.

The research reveals that over half of businesses are expecting 4G to have an impact on the number of employees accessing their organisation’s network remotely and an even bigger impact on requests for BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) schemes from employees.

Furthermore, it revealed that 80% of businesses believe 4G will bring an increased security risk to the business, yet despite this relatively few businesses have a remote access policy in place or have budget assigned to deal with these security risks proactively.

In the run up to the launch of 4G by the remaining mobile operators in the UK, faster connection speeds and higher availability of mobile internet are on the horizon. With that in mind, SecureData commissioned a Vanson Bourne survey of 100 senior IT managers in large UK enterprises (more than 1,000 employees). The survey on remote working ran across the financial services, manufacturing, retail, distribution/transport and other commercial sectors.

Key findings include:

o All employees are now able to work remotely at some point during an average working month; a year ago this was not the case

o Over 60% of organisations do not have a policy in place for employees to work remotely via their own personal mobile device

o Over half of organisations believe that the introduction of advanced technologies such as 4G will impact the number of employees accessing their networks remotely due to higher availability and faster internet connections

o Over 80% of organisations expect to see an increase in employees requesting BYOD schemes to take advantage of the faster connections and higher availability offered by advanced technologies such as 4G

o Over 80% of organisations expect there to be an increase in security risks to their business with the higher availability and faster connections to the internet with advanced technologies such as 4G

o 33% of organisations have budget assigned specifically for security issues associated to remote access.

“The study highlights that UK businesses are aware, but still not prepared for the ever increasing number of employees looking to access networks remotely," Alan Carter, Solutions Consultant at SecureData, commented.

"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. 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. 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."

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