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Mobiles that go Walkies

13 November 2015 | Updated 01 January 1970

A study shows a staggering 47% of organisations admit that senior level executives have lost or had a device stolen in the past year.

Global data storage and information security company, Vanson Bourne, conducted the survey of 500 IT decision makers in the UK and Germany to uncover the risks of remote working and inquire into the security measures organisations have in place.

The findings are a shock and worry to businesses and organisations as many of the lost or stolen devices have non-encrypted business information on them. The report found that:

93% of lost or stolen devices contained work-related data.

44% of organisations believe a member of their senior management has lost a mobile device in the last year.

39% stated senior management had a device stolen.


The findings also raised concerns over non-senior management employees with 54% of organisations saying a non-senior management employee lost a device and 49% reported a device stolen within the past year.

When breaking down the 93% of those devices containing work related data, it was found that:

  • Included confidential e-mails (49%).

  • Confidential files or documents (38%).

  • Customer data (24%).

  • Financial data (15%).

Despite the risks, businesses and organisations are failing to put in place basic security rules. Of those organisations that have, or plan to implement, a remote working or security policy, 32% do not specify that devices taken outside the office must be protected with either encryption or passwords. Further, 25% ‘do not specify that digital files taken outside the office must be protected with either encryption or passwords’.

With over a third of organisations reporting that a device has been lost or stolen in the past six months, the report argues that the ramifications can be serious and that there are disciplinary procedures in place with some:

  • 37% of respondents were aware of someone in their organisation having faced disciplinary action due to lost files or work data.

  • 32% were aware of an employee having lost their job as a result within the last year.

However, companies are still failing to control how data leaves the office, with 48% admitting that they could not keep track of how employees take data with them and 54% saying that data could be more adequately secured.

“Even amidst continued warnings about data security and with data breaches making headlines on an almost daily basis, organisations are still not able to secure their intellectual property,” said Nicholas Banks, Vice President EMEA and APAC, IronKey. “The benefits of encryption and password protection are not new but businesses are simply not enforcing basic security practices.”

Mr Banks bemoaned that fact that businesses were aware of employees breaking their organisation’s security rules to take work outside of the office (67%), yet they were doing nothing to address the issue. “These responses highlight a careless attitude toward company devices and data,” noted Mr Banks. “Employees, including senior management, appear to be unaware of the full impact of data loss and it is exactly those senior level executives that employees are looking to for education and action, to prevent sensitive data falling into the wrong hands.

Picture: The Vanson Bourne survey show that 93% of lost or stolen devices contained work-related data

Article written by Mike Gannon | Published 13 November 2015


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