Mobile devices can be a critical part of any cyber attack, according to new research from Ponemon Institute. For an enterprise, the economic risk of mobile data breaches—including direct operational costs as well as potential maximum loss from non-compliance and reputational damage—could be as high as $26.4 million.

The report, sponsored by mobile security company Lookout, also found that mobile data breaches are more common than many might think. Two-thirds (67%) of the 588 worldwide organizations surveyed report having had a data breach as a result of employees using their mobile devices to access the company's sensitive and confidential information.

"While many organizations still consider it 'early days' in their mobile deployments, this does not mean they should be 'early days' in their security," Craig Shumard, former CISO at insurer Cigna and current cyber security advisor, said in a statement.

"It's never been more clear that mobile devices can be a critical part of the attack equation,” Shumard said. “With the rise in access to corporate data via mobile devices, those devices will become bigger targets for the bad guys. And the cost to the enterprise will only increase."

Other key findings in the research are that mobile access to corporate data increased 43% from 2014 to 2015, and 56% of the data accessible on PCs is also accessible on mobile devices. Mobile data access is expected to increase at least 50% in the next two years.

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