iPass Inc. (NASDAQ: IPAS), the leading provider of global mobile connectivity, today published the iPass Mobile Security Report, revealing that nearly two thirds (62%) of organizations are banning their mobile workers from using free Wi-Fi hotspots.
A further 20% of organizations stated they are planning to enforce bans in the future. Overall, 94% of those surveyed saw free Wi-Fi hotspots as a significant mobile security threat.
Compiling the responses of 500 organizations from the U.S., U.K., Germany and France, the iPass Mobile Security Report* provides an overview of how companies are dealing with the trade-off between security and the need to enable a mobile workforce. Indeed, the vast majority (92%) said they were concerned about the security challenges posed by a growing mobile workforce.
“Wi-Fi is a disruptive technology that has changed the way people work, but in recent times it has also introduced formidable mobile security concerns,” said Keith Waldorf, vice president of engineering at iPass. “Being connected is the basic requirement of every mobile worker. However, with increasing numbers of businesses falling afoul to security breaches, the number of organizations expressing a concern about mobile security is high. The use of free and insecure Wi-Fi hotspots in particular is a growing concern, as organizations balance the need for low-cost and convenient connectivity against the potential threat posed by hackers.”
When asked to identify their biggest mobile security threat, 37% of the overall respondents said it was free Wi-Fi hotspots, followed closely by their own employees’ lack of attention to security (36%) and then the devices employees use (27%). With today’s mobile workers utilizing a wide range of different devices and connection methods to get online, the enforcement of safe mobile usage is an increasing challenge for many organizations. In fact, the report revealed that a large number of organizations (88%) are struggling to consistently enforce a safe mobile usage policy.
To help ensure secure connections, many organizations provide their mobile workers with virtual private network (VPN) technology, which creates an encrypted connection to enable them to remotely access corporate data and systems. However, the report found that only 26% of respondents are fully confident that mobile workers access enterprise systems via a VPN at all times.
Highlights from the report, categorized by geographic region, include:
- U.K. organizations were the most lenient when it comes to banning the use of free Wi-Fi hotspots; nearly half (47%) stated they don’t actively prohibit their employees from using them
- In the U.K. (64%) and Germany (38%), employees were seen as the biggest mobile security threat
- In the U.S. (53%) and France (36%), insecure Wi-Fi hotspots were seen as the biggest mobile security threat
- 94% of French organizations said they struggled to consistently enforce a safe mobile usage policy
- Only 21% of U.S. organizations were fully confident their mobile workers always use its corporate VPN
“The fact is, mobile workers will seek out free Wi-Fi connectivity for its convenience, despite its security flaws,” continued Waldorf. “Simply banning access to free Wi-Fi hotspots is a heavy-handed approach and is not the solution. In today’s ‘Wi-Fi-first’ world, it is imperative that organizations educate their mobile workers about the dangers of insecure free Wi-Fi, and equip them with the requisite tools to access a secure internet connection and remain productive.”
*The research was carried out by independent market research company Vanson Bourne during March 2016. The sample comprised 500 CIO and IT decision makers from the US (200), UK (100), Germany (100) and France (100).
About iPass Inc
iPass (NASDAQ: IPAS) is the leading provider of global mobile connectivity, offering simple, secure, always-on Wi-Fi access on any mobile device. Built on a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform, the iPass cloud-based service keeps its customers connected by providing unlimited Wi-Fi connectivity on unlimited devices. iPass is the world’s largest Wi-Fi network, with more than 50 million hotspots in more than 120 countries, at airports, hotels, train stations, convention centers, outdoor venues, inflight, and more. Using patented technology, the iPass SmartConnect™ platform takes the guesswork out of Wi-Fi, automatically connecting customers to the best hotspot for their needs. Customers simply download the iPass app to experience unlimited, everywhere, and invisible Wi-Fi.
iPass® is a registered trademark of iPass Inc. Wi-Fi® is a registered trademark of the Wi-Fi Alliance. All other trademarks are owned by their respective owners.