Tag Archives: Mr Everitt

Portable storage and mobile device management lacking in UK businesses

Figures show that UK firms are less well equipped to protect the data stored on mobile devices and portable storage solutions than their European counterparts.

A study carried out by Absolute Software found that 65 per cent of IT managers working in the UK do not have any way of identifying where the mobile devices owned and operated by their business are located at a given point in time.

This compares poorly to the 50 per cent of clueless managers in France and 41 per cent in Germany, showing that many UK organisations need to step up their ability to manage mobile devices and keep tabs on their usage and whereabouts, in order to safeguard the sensitive data which they regularly store, necessarily mitigating the risk of loss.

Six per cent of IT managers from the UK claimed that they have automated systems in place to monitor the whereabouts of corporate laptops, which is still lower than both Germany and France, where this type of ability is present in 13 per cent of businesses.

Absolute Software’s Dave Everitt, said that the figures prove how UK managers are unable to properly monitor and protect mobile devices and portable storage, consequently leaving data out in the open to be lost or stolen and exposing businesses to damaging data loss scandals, which could result in punitive action by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

Mr Everitt pointed out that while replacing the physical technology would be a minor expense, it is the data stored on mobile devices which is the most valuable to an organisation, meaning that in the event of loss or theft, the costs can quickly multiply.

Experts acknowledge that IT managers can have a tough time keeping track of mobile devices and Mr Everitt said that the increasing number of people using personal smartphones for business purposes was compounding the problem.

IT managers are advised to remain adaptable and work with employees in order to better manage and control the use of mobile devices and portable storage.

Portable devices pose problems for UK IT managers

A new study has found that those in charge of IT management in the UK are failing to keep tabs on the various mobile and portable devices which are used within a given business or organisation, increasing the risks of data loss or theft.

Seventy-five per cent of respondents to a survey conducted by Absolute Software, said that within larger businesses they could not reliably give the precise location of their laptops at a given time. Within SMEs (small and medium-size enterprises) this figure was at the 50 per cent mark.

Sixty-five per cent of those questioned said that they had at one point or another lost or mislaid their mobiles. This is said to show that it is becoming increasingly difficult for IT managers to track and monitor the usage of portable devices, as they are more prolifically employed across businesses of all sizes.

Absolute Software’s Dave Everitt, said that an overall improvement to the management of IT assets was clearly a necessity in the majority of businesses and organisations, to help prevent data loss or theft of mobile devices.

Mr Everitt continued by saying that there was a greater reliance on mobile and portable devices to help increase productivity within businesses in both a working and home environment. He said that this proliferation of portable devices capable of storing sensitive data, meant that IT managers would need to increase their awareness of not only where employees are using such devices, but also how they are being used to avoid disaster.

Forty-four per cent of respondents revealed that the use of both PC and Mac technology, meant that in many cases it was impossible to track both platforms when in use on a single network.

Various significant statistics relating to the loss of portable and mobile devices from within big businesses and organisations, have been released in recent times, with the BBC, The Ministry of Justice and others forced to admit large losses, because of requests put in under the Freedom of Information Act.

BBC device losses cost close to 250,000

The BBC has been forced to admit that it has lost nearly a quarter of a million pounds worth of laptops and smartphones over the last two years, although at this point, the cost of the resultant data loss is unknown.

Security firm Absolute Software shed light on the high cost after it put in a request under the Freedom of Information Act.

The loss of mobile devices by BBC employees, including 17 BlackBerry smartphones, cost over 22,000, while the cost of losing nearly 150 laptop computers came closer to ten times that amount.

These devices were both lost and stolen and just one per cent of them were ever recovered by the broadcaster. It said in a statement that once it was made aware of a loss or theft it would initiate procedures to deal with data security breaches, although it would not explain precisely what these steps would involve.

Absolute Software’s Dave Everitt criticised the BBC for this significant loss of equipment over a relatively short period and argued that far more of the devices could have been recovered if they were not only properly protected but also if they had the necessary software onboard to allow them to be remotely tracked.

Mr Everitt pointed out that licence payers were seeing their money being spent on these devices which were subsequently lost, ultimately leaving them to foot the bill.

The BBC stated that any security breach, data loss or device theft was considered to be a serious matter, but admitted that within an organisation of its size it was impossible to completely rule out the loss of laptops and mobile phones.

Data security expert Paul Vlissidis said that the BBC and other organisations would need to expand their focus beyond protecting data stored centrally on internal systems in order to encompass the ever expanding use of portable devices.

Mr Vlissidis pointed out that although encryption would effectively protect data provided the device was powered down completely after ever use, many employees simply leave laptops in sleep mode, which allows criminlas to bypass encryption immediately.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has said that it will not investigate the loss of the devices as the BBC has made it aware of most incidents and has not given it reason to suspect that licence payers’ data has been compromised.

Predicted rise in theft of laptops coincides with holiday period

The summer months could see the highest rate of laptop thefts in any period this year as criminals take advantage of houses sitting empty with portable storage devices and computers in plain sight whilst owners are on holiday, according to laptop security experts.

Laptop tracking firm Absolute Software has released a stark warning after surveying over 62,000 people from the UK, Europe and North America in relation to laptop security and theft. In the UK the figures show that about 33 per cent of all laptop thefts occur whilst the computer is left at home and Absolute fears that this can only increase as the summer kicks off in earnest.

A home in the UK is the worst place to leave a laptop, according to the survey, which found that while a third of all thefts occurred at home for British users, this figure is much lower elsewhere, with Canadian laptop owners only having computers stolen from their homes in 17 per cent of cases. France was closer to the UK with 22 per cent, although there is still a significant divide.

Data loss scandals involving laptops highlighted by the media when high profile loss or theft occurs in public places when the portable nature of the technology is being exploited. As such, Absolute Software’s Dave Everitt believes that the findings of the survey will be a shock to many UK citizens, who might have previously been concerned with laptop security only when out and about.

Mr Everitt suggests that UK laptop owners will need to take greater care to secure all of their portable storage devices if they are planning a trip this summer, with the simple act of locking it in a secure location minimising the chances of theft. He also says that preventing data loss from stolen laptops can be easier if software allowing remote locking or deletion of data is installed. Such software could, in some cases, even lead to the apprehension of the guilty parties.

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