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Employee-owned smartphones need improved security

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Small business owners are failing to realize the importance of employing cybersecurity tactics that help keep their critical information safe. As owners of small firms, it's important to know that business data is the often the only thing they have to fall back on.

According to a recent survey commissioned by AT&T and the Polytechnic Institute of New York University, 83 percent of small business owners allow their employees to use their personal mobile devices for work, while only 32 percent are taking the proper measures to secure smartphones. 

"There is a troubling disconnect between business owners who want to keep data safe and the necessary steps to protect it," said Ed Amoroso, chief security officer at AT&T. "With more employees using mobile devices, especially personal devices, business data is increasingly vulnerable to cyber threats."

Small business owners can't afford to lose critical data
After seeing the effects of recent cyberattacks, only 65 percent of survey respondents said information and data security of wireless devices was a concern. This number needs to be higher, as having cyberliability insurance policies is a near necessity for any firm that relies heavily on the internet and services such as cloud computing.

"Protecting critical information can be easy and affordable, and small businesses need to recognize the reality of today's environment - this is a step they can't afford to ignore," said Amoroso.

Understanding risks vital to small business success
Thirty-seven percent of small business owners in the survey reported they have suffered a security breach. If this doesn't ring a bell that security practices need to be improved, nothing will.

Owners of small firms are becoming smarter about virus protection on computers and laptops, with 82 percent investing in some types of security measures. But they still need to work on finding ways to keep phones safe from cyberattacks.

"Small businesses need to better understand their risk profile," said Nair Memon, professor of Computer Science and Engineering and founding director of The Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Security and Privacy at NYU-Poly. "This means treating every device that touches your network, from laptops to smartphones, as vulnerabilities and ensuring that security is built into the equation at every level."

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