Four in ten firms have admitted mobile devices containing critical business data have been lost or stolen from the organisations, says McAfee.

According to the security firm's 'Mobility and Security: Dazzling Opportunities, Profound Challenges' report, which was produced by Carnegie Mellon's CyLab, also revealed more than a third of these losses or thefts have had a financial impact on the firm, while two thirds of companies claimed that increasing device security after a loss or theft, they subsequently saw more devices being lost or stolen.

Nearly seven in 10 companies claim they are more reliant on mobile devices than they were 12 months ago, while nearly two thirds (63 percent) of mobile devices connected to an organisation's network are also used for personal activities.

Furthermore, less than half of employees back-up their mobile data more than once a week, while 50 percent admitted they passwords, pin codes or credit card details on their mobile devices and a third store sensitive work-related information on their personal mobile devices.

The research also highlighted that while 95 percent of firms mobile device security policies in place, less than one in three employees are very aware of these policies.

"Devices are no longer just consumer devices or business devices. They are both," said Richard Power, a CyLab Distinguished Fellow, the primary author of the report.

According to said Todd Gebhart, executive vice president and general manager, consumer, small business and mobile at McAfee, "Data loss remains a huge problem for both consumers and businesses".

"Consumers need tools to protect their personal information and businesses need a way to protect their valuable intellectual property. It's far too easy to leave a mobile device in a cab, or at the airport. This study shows that there is a lot of room for improvement in terms of education and putting the right tools in place to ensure mobile security."