More than half of IT security administrators expect an increase in the number of users attempting to connect to their network in the next year.

According to a survey by Check Point, 54 per cent anticipate an increase in mobile connections, yet 64 per cent are concerned about the potential exposure to sensitive data. The survey found that 70 per cent of respondents do not use data encryption to secure their business laptops and 87 per cent do not encrypt USB or portable media devices.

Ben Khoushy, vice president of endpoint products at Check Point, said: “Mobile computing and the consumerisation of IT is no longer a trend but a way of life for most businesses, with employees and contractors demanding more access to business applications and data from both corporate and personally-owned devices.

“Many organisations have not set up an appropriate plan to secure the use of personal laptops and smartphones in the workplace. These vulnerabilities need to be addressed by a combination of technology and user awareness that enforce better security protections to secure data on-the-go.”

The MessageLabs Intelligence 2010 Security report from Symantec compared the web browsing habits of a mobile workforce with office-based workers and found that mobile users behave similarly to office-based users and therefore pose little additional threat to an organisation. However workers who have mixed locations, those that work both in and out of the office, appear to relax their browsing habits considerably when out of the office, posing considerably higher risk to the organisation.

Jesse Lindeman, director of product management for MobileIron, commented that these types of findings are consistent with what its customers are reporting. He said: “Clearly we have not seen complete security policy across the infrastructure and obviously we are seeing more laptops being brought into work. This is a paradigm switch and enterprises need to keep up with the common security architecture and how they are protecting their own company around policy.

“In general, on a corporate network enterprises are aware of the potential for a data loss and what is interesting is that we are seeing demand for the device and it has a security impact on models. We are seeing that security model move across all devices to letting people bring in what they want and use a software application for their job.”