#CyberFLASH: ‘You’re always under attack’, Why Canadian firms are falling behind in mobile security

mobile-securityEnticing people to buy a BlackBerry pager to send and receive emails away from their desk was a tough sell when Jeff Holleran joined Research In Motion Ltd. in late 2001. Fourteen years later, he is perhaps facing an even tougher task: getting mobile users to secure all their information – and foot the bill to do it.

According to a survey commissioned last summer by BlackBerry Ltd., seven out of 10 people in charge of risk and compliance deemed mobile devices to be their company’s biggest cybersecurity threat, yet only 30 per cent of the 780 respondents felt they were adequately protected. What’s worse, those security mechanisms that made the 30 per cent feel at ease are likely outdated by now.

And companies in Canada are already as much as 18 months behind their U.S. counterparts in adoption, said Roi Ross, director of business mobility products at Telus Corp., one of the hundreds of software resellers.

But it’s not just a thrifty mindset keeping organizations on the sidelines: it’s that mobile security is so hard to do right that it seems some are opting to kick the can down the road instead of addressing the elephant in the room.

Richard Tam, chief administrative officer at Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital, located in a suburb north of Toronto, says the increasing mobility of patient data and care is generally being avoided. “A lot of people are trying not to deal with it,” said Tam, because “once you open up mobile health, you have to deal with all the issues.” Many hospital administrators in North America are choosing to keep that door closed.

“It’s not like you can just drop the software in and it works,” Ross said during an interview. It takes time to test, select, configure and install, and then train employees to use it. Also, “some people are hoping to see some shakeout, or consolidation, in the industry” before choosing their provider. And, so, the gap lives on.

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