Recently Released Report a Security Wakeup Call for Enterprises

Impact of New Mobile Communications in the Workplace Report finds most companies do not have an approach to maintaining compliance, privacy and security standards that align with the mobile working era

As we’ve seen, there is a great deal impacting the way people communicate—from artificial intelligence and 5G to the increasingly mobile nature of employees. A new study conducted by NetSfere in association with Mobile Ecosystem Forum (MEF), a global trade industry association, found that the mobile-centric workforce is driving a shift toward an increased use of consumer-grade messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Line and more for business communications. Alarmingly, the study also found that many employers are currently unprepared for the data control, security and compliance issues arising from the new era of the mobile workforce.

Key findings of the 10-country study include:

Employee communication is changing

  • Globally the workplace has gone mobile - 56% of the global workforce is now using a mobile device for business.
  • Usage of non-regulated consumer messaging apps has become common in the workplace with 50% of respondents indicating they use these apps for mobile work communications—one of which is WhatsApp, which should raise major red flags for enterprises.
  • Employee preference for using their own personal devices at work is helping drive the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend. The study found that 30% of respondents prefer to use their own device for work.

Security and compliance risks are rising

  • Employees are using these messaging apps to share a range of potentially sensitive business information with 29% of respondents indicating they share documents and 25% saying they share contacts including personal details like phone numbers.
  • Employees are now in charge of securing enterprise data on their device, but the majority - 57% - are not certain that the data they’re sharing across mobile messaging platforms is secure
  • The study noted that it is likely that most companies do not have a comprehensive approach to maintaining compliance, privacy and security standards. Among those whose employers have taken at least one protective action, 47% claim that their employer has defined a preferred messaging app. However, in many cases this may be a consumer messaging app, offering little assurance that communications are private or secure, or that employees who leave are systematically excluded.

Implications for enterprises

  • Organizations are playing catch-up when it comes to data protection and compliance issues, which can lead to major problems.
  • There is a significant opportunity for companies to adopt a more comprehensive and data-centric approach as mobile working will only increase.
  • Through improved, encrypted security measures – all businesses can safely embrace and harness the benefits of the connected workforce.

Conclusion

The ubiquity of the smartphone with an estimated 3.5 billion users worldwide and the rise of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) are transforming how employees communicate. While this transformation is enhancing employee communication and collaboration, it is also introducing serious compliance risks and security threats to enterprises. To evolve with the mobile-centric era, companies must take proactive approaches to securing workplace communications. They must institute a holistic policy-based approach to security, administrative control and regulatory compliance in the context of mobile messaging, and NetSfere offers a way for enterprises to do just that through a secure platform to communicate on.