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SA survey – businesses not taking network security seriously enough

February 14, 2014 • Mobile and Telecoms, Southern Africa

F5 Networks, Senior Engineer, Martin Walshaw (Image source: F5 Networks)

F5 Networks, Senior Engineer, Martin Walshaw (Image source: F5 Networks)

A recent survey conducted by F5 Networks revealed that South African employees rate mobile network access highly and would even consider refusing a job if this was not part of the package – but that network security is sorely neglected.

The Company ran a survey focused on issues around worker mobility in December last year and received over 1,300 responses. Leading respondents were in the technology and electronics (22.87%), services and consulting (13.06%) and financial (11.76%) sectors.

Of the respondents, 42.78% said that they provided their own devices for work – but only 39.11% said that their employers took responsibility for the security of their devices.

“This is a concerning imbalance if you consider that all of these devices are connecting to the corporate network, in all likelihood accessing and transmitting sensitive information, but less than 40% of respondents say that their employers take responsibility for security,” says F5 Networks, Senior Engineer, Martin Walshaw. “If you take into account the fact that most data breaches occur because of human behaviour, this is a troubling oversight for South African business.”

Of the respondents, 53.25% said that they were able to work as efficiently and access the necessary information when accessing the corporate network remotely, while 36.51% said that they were not easily able to.

“Mobility access has changed the way we do business, and should result in greater employee satisfaction and productivity,” says Walshaw. “However, the infrastructure – and security – needs to be in place to facilitate trouble-free remote access for users, to ensure that their productivity is not hampered. Any organisation that has a mobility policy should make access to critical applications efficient and secure.”

The importance of having a mobility policy is reflected in the next survey question, which asked respondents whether it would be a deal-breaker if an organisation wouldn’t allow them to work remotely. 16.88% said that they wouldn’t join the organisation if they could not work remotely. Another 37.16 % said that working remotely is a major attraction to them.

Only 13.85% said that their job does not require them to work remotely.

“If you consider that 54.04% of respondents said that remote access was either a deal breaker or a really compelling feature for employment at an organisation, South African companies without mobility policies – from both a human and technological perspective – need to start giving this serious consideration,” explains Walshaw.

The survey respondents said that when they were connecting remotely, they were accessing productivity apps (25.54%), financial apps (13.2%) and human resources apps (6.42%). “The full gamut of workplace applications are represented here. People in all kinds of jobs at various levels are using smart devices to connect to the corporate network,” says Walshaw.

He concludes: “The survey findings clearly point towards employees in South Africa embracing remote working, and that employers are cognisant of the benefits.  But network security isn’t being taken nearly seriously enough by organisations who have a lot to lose, both reputationally and in data integrity terms.”

Staff Writer

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