C-Suite poses greatest risk to enterprise security outside the office

News by Danielle Correa

Executives around the world are trying to improve cyber-security, however these same executives present the greatest risk to enterprise security.

Some 40 percent of organisations believe that C-level executives, including the CEO, are the greatest risk to their organisation being hacked, likely to happen while they're working outside of the office according to new research conducted by iPass. Responses were collected from 500 CIO and IT decision makers in organisations from the UK, US, France and Germany.

“The grim reality is that C-level executives are by far at the greatest risk of being hacked outside of the office. They are not your typical nine to five office worker. They often work long hours, are rarely confined to the office, and have unrestricted access to the most sensitive company data imaginable. They represent a dangerous combination of being both highly valuable and highly available, therefore a prime target for any hacker,” said Raghu Konka, vice president of engineering at iPass, in a statement.

The top high-risk venues reported by 42 percent of respondents were cafes and coffee shops, followed by airports (30 percent), hotels (16 percent), exhibition centres (seven percent) and airplanes (four percent).

A majority (93 percent) said they were concerned about the security challenges posed by a growing mobile workforce. Nearly half (47 percent) reported they were “very” concerned.

When it comes to the increasing number of mobile security challenges, the US (98 percent) is most concerned compared to France (88 percent), Germany (89 percent) and the UK (92 percent).

Nearly 10 percent of UK organisations said they have no security concerns when employees use public Wi-Fi hotspots. In the other reporting countries, this figure is one percent in the US and Germany, and two percent in France.

UK organisations are the least likely to ban the use of public Wi-Fi, with 44 percent having no plans to do so as opposed to Germany (eight percent), the US (10 percent) and France (15 percent).

More than two-thirds of organisations (68 percent) have chosen to ban employee use of free public Wi-Fi hotspots to some degree, while 33 percent ban employee use at all times.

Seventy-five percent of enterprises worldwide still allow or encourage the use of MiFi devices (wireless routers that act as a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot).

Man-in-the-middle attacks were noted by 69 percent of organisations as a concern when their employees use public Wi-Fi. More than half also chose a lack of encryption (63 percent), unpatched operating systems (55 percent) and hotspot spoofing (58 percent) as main concerns.

“Organisations are more aware of the mobile security threat than ever, but they still struggle to find the balance between security and productivity,” continued Konka. “While businesses understand that free public Wi-Fi hotspots can empower employees to do their job and be more productive, they are also fearful of the potential security threat. Organisations must do their best to ensure that their mobile workers are securely connected.”


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