64% of IT professionals in the Middle East think that data on mobile devices is not secure


In a survey carried out at Gitex in Dubai, 64% of respondents said they wouldn’t be confident that data stored on a mobile device belonging to their organization would be secure in the event it was lost or stolen. The survey, carried out by global IT security company Sophos, polled 181 IT professionals at the show.

Unsurprisingly, 58% of those polled felt that viruses were still the biggest threat to their corporate network. Of the respondents, 34% rated device theft or loss as the biggest threat, not surprising either given that mobile device security was such a hot topic for Sophos at Gitex this year.

More surprising perhaps was the fact that 32% of survey respondents said hackers were the biggest threat. Hacking is still a tiny percentage of the overall threat but the perception that it is an issue is most likely due to several high-profile attacks in recent months and the media coverage around this.

Another surprise was the fact that only 16.5% said social media was the biggest threat. Given that social media is widely used in the Middle East and is one of the major vectors for cyber criminals, this indicates that there is still a lack of understanding around social media and the threats it can pose to IT security.

Kamel Heus, Managing Director, MEA, Sophos, said: “

To date, encryption has had a low rate of deployment in the Middle East, and there is a lack of regulation around data protection. However, it’s no real surprise to us that almost two thirds of those surveyed felt their corporate data would not be secure if a mobile device was lost. Mobile device security was a really hot topic for us at Gitex this year, and in general the topic has quickly risen to the top of security agendas as organizations are beginning to get really concerned about the potential for damage if these devices are lost or stolen.”

He continued: “We did something a bit different at Gitex this year and presented a series of educational seminars each day, which also covered mobile. The attendance and reaction of attendees was phenomenal and showed there’s a real gap out there in terms of educating people on the threats and how to handle them. As a result, we intend to repeat these educational sessions in a series of free seminars in the GCC countries. This goes hand in hand with our mission to raise awareness about cyber crime and minimize the risks that companies are exposed to in the region”.


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