Chance of Companies Losing Devices with Important Data Now a Coin Flip

By Steve Anderson March 06, 2013

New research emerging from Varonis suggests companies that use a lot of mobile devices in daily operations should be especially concerned about what happens when those devices go missing. As it turns out, fully half of companies surveyed by Varonis have had a device containing important company data go missing at some point.

Further details from the survey prove not only how bad the situation is getting for companies, but also for employees personally.

As shocking a figure as a 50-percent loss rate may be for devices containing important data, that's not even the centerpiece of the report. The losses of devices with important data are actually so bad that they comprise a security risk for about 20 percent of the companies involved.

And 57 percent of employees at those companies believe the BYOD movement is actually putting employees' personal data at risk to boot.

Remote working also brought with it a growing demand for security measures, with 57 percent relying mainly on password protection. Thirty-five percent go so far as to have remote device wiping capabilities, and 24 percent use a layer of encryption.

Perhaps the more disturbing trend, however, emerges in terms of how employees react to the idea of having their personal devices go to work. Eighty-six percent of respondents in the study think they are obsessed with devices, using them to work both day and night. What's more, 44 percent are using devices to work during mealtimes, and the numbers only get more distressing from there.

Twenty percent of the respondents call themselves "borderline workaholic," 15 percent are bringing devices to work during vacations, and 7 percent no longer regard a separation between their work and home lives.

Some of this, of course, is likely owing to a sluggish overall economy. Those with jobs, not surprisingly, are out to protect those jobs and keep that income, so a willingness to work outside the confines of the standard work day makes some sense. It improves the value of the individual employee in question and makes him/her more resistant to downsizing effects.

But at the same time, it's clear that there's some excess going on here; when nearly one in 10 respondents no longer recognize the concept of "time off," it's a cause for concern.

So how can companies react to these issues? One, it's fairly likely that important devices will turn up lost, therefore having protective measures in place is important for devices is especially important. Developing policy in terms of what is and what isn't allowed in terms of BYOD policy is also an important step, allowing individual employees better protection over personal data by not letting it show up on business-used devices.

Perhaps most important, companies must establish limits on just how much employees can work in the first place, without fear of reprisal or termination for unrelated issues. Rested employees do better work in the long term, and terminations – not to mention finding replacements – can be costly in several ways, including lost opportunity.

The BYOD movement has a lot of potential for businesses, but there need to be certain steps taken to prevent the most common issues associated with the movement, and to protect the business in turn.

Edited by Braden Becker

Contributing TechZone360 Writer

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