UAE companies failing to protect mobile data

Survey shows that three quarters of UAE companies are failing to put policies in place to protect mobile devices.

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By  Mark Sutton Published  August 20, 2007

Three quarters of companies in the UAE neglect the security of their mobile data, according to a study by research group Vanson Bourne. The survey indicated that of 50 UAE IT decision makers sampled, 72% said their company had no policy on protecting data stored on mobile devices such as phones and notebooks.

The UAE ranked as third lowest in the EMEA region on mobile security preparedness, with only Russia and Poland reporting fewer companies with set policies for mobile devices. The survey, which was commissioned by Hitachi Data Systems, sampled 900 IT managers from mid-size and enterprise level companies across Europe, Russia and the UAE

The companies sampled in the UAE placed better on data encryption and password management, with 40% of companies claiming to have policies for data encryption and 74% claiming to have a policy for audited password management.

The UAE respondents also ranked high on disaster recovery readiness, with 88% of respondents saying they had tested their business continuity and disaster recovery solutions within the past twelve months, on par with many European countries, although the survey did not provide any data on the depth or complexity of disaster recovery solutions.

Tony Ward, general manager & sales director, Hitachi Data Systems Middle East, said: "In a country where mobile penetration is over 100%, the volume of business communication over mobile devices is enormous. The fact that few UAE businesses enforce policies on data storage on PDAs, BlackBerrys, USB keys and so on, is a cause for concern."

The survey also highlighted the growing problem of non-corporate data being stored on corporate networks by staff. Thirty-six percent of UAE respondents estimated that between 10 and 25% of their total storage capacity is being used by staff for non-work related data, such as email, music downloads and so on. Only 16% of companies in the UAE planned to implement a policy to control this use of corporate resources.

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