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Healthcare orgs hardest hit by mobile device downtime Ponemon/Imprivata research finds

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Digital identity company Imprivata, and Ponemon Institute, today unveiled new research that highlights security, financial, and operational consequences associated with existing enterprise-owned mobile device programmes.

The findings, detailed in a new report titled Unlocking the Cost of Chaos: The State of Enterprise Mobility in Life- and Mission-Critical Industries, show the costly reality: Without effective tools or a unified strategy, organisations experience significant challenges when implementing mobile devices.

While mobile devices have become crucial for advancing modern business operations, the findings indicate that just 28 per cent of IT and IT security practitioners believe their programmes and strategies can secure mobile devices and access to sensitive and confidential data.

Moreover, employee usability has notable room for improvement, with just 31 per cent citing ease of access to applications and data on shared devices.

Repetitive, manual authentication is a common challenge, as is employee downtime due to devices that are unusable – with an average of 872 hours lost each week.

“It is critical for organisations to adopt mobile devices to enhance productivity, but current access management and cybersecurity strategies are falling short,” said Fran Rosch, CEO at Imprivata.

“And while all organisations are vulnerable to breaches that disrupt productivity and lead to financial loss, those in high-stakes industries often suffer dire consequences such as poor patient outcomes or the inability to deliver critical goods and services.

“This research comes at a crucial time for increasingly mobile industries like healthcare, retail, and manufacturing, to understand the challenges and optimise their significant investments in mobile technology.”

One of the more costly challenges revealed in the report involves dealing with lost mobile devices.

Of the nearly 40,000 used by employees represented in this research, an average of 16 per cent are lost each year, costing organisations an approximate $5.45 million annually.

This does not factor in the costs of IT security and help desk support or diminished productivity and idle time, which add another $1.4 million, on average, every year.

Other key findings indicate:  

  • User productivity would improve with remote mobile management. The process for maintaining and managing mobile devices takes place onsite all, or part of the time, for 67 per cent of respondents – an inefficiency that needs addressing in the age of hybrid and remote work.
  • Many organisations’ strategies are failing to secure devices without creating usability issues. Sensitive data on mobile devices is vulnerable, with less than half (47 per cent) of respondents citing their organisations secure vulnerable apps and just 40 per cent saying they can protect data and privacy by locking down devices between each use. Moreover, just 40 per cent say their programmes enable quick access to mobile applications without repetitive, manual authentication.
  • No single industry is leading the charge on access management. Only 45 per cent of respondents in industries including healthcare, manufacturing, and retail say their organisations are highly effective in protecting sensitive data on lost devices. Of all industries, healthcare spends the most on IT security support, totaling $750,270 (£591,578) annually. Healthcare organisations are also more severely impacted by diminished productivity or idle time when mobile devices are lost, with the average annual cost totaling $719,120 (£567,052).
  • All countries consider it very difficult to maintain access controls on shared devices. Sixty per cent of IT and IT security practitioners in the UK and Germany cite a high degree of difficulty with access management, while 59 per cent of those in the US agree.

“Today’s workforce demands flexibility and untethered access to data and tools from anywhere, at any time.

“However, this research shows current enterprise mobility strategies may be more of a hindrance than a help to many organisations and their employees,” said Joel Burleson-Davis, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Engineering, Cyber at Imprivata.

“Organisations should start by conducting a readiness audit, designating responsibility of their mobile device strategies and programmes to a key stakeholder such as the CIO or CTO, and then move ahead with implementing a robust access management strategy that optimises security with usability.

“Only then can they win the trifecta of security, productivity, and financial sustainability.”

The study was conducted by Ponemon Institute on behalf of Imprivata and includes responses from 1,795 IT and IT security practitioners across the United States (604), the United Kingdom (364), Germany (584), and Australia (243) who are familiar with their organisations’ strategy for mobile workflow requirements and security practices.

View the complete findings in the report, Unlocking the Cost of Chaos: The State of Enterprise Mobility in Life- and Mission-Critical Industries.

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