67,000 Phones To Be Lost Or Stolen During London Olympics

An estimated 67,000 mobile phones are likely to be lost or stolen during the Olympics in London. Numbers of smartphones and other portable networked devices have exploded over the past few years.

As a result, this year’s Games will see the largest-ever risk of corporate and personal data loss during an Olympics period, with an estimated 214.4 terabytes of potentially sensitive data likely to be lost or stolen—an equivalent of 200 million books’ worth of data.

50,000 mobile phones are lost or stolen in the London area over any two-week period. During the Olympics, the total population in London is expected to swell by a third, with an extra million people using the tube every day. This, I anticipate, will lead to an additional 17,000 lost or stolen phones, bringing the possible total to 67,000 during the two-week period.

Given that an estimated 40 percent of all mobile devices, or approximately 26,800, are smartphones, the risk of data loss and data theft during the Olympic Games is high. This means that a total of 214.4 terabytes—or the equivalent of 214.4 million books—will likely be lost or otherwise end up in the wrong hands during the Olympic Games. These figures do not include the even-larger data volumes at risk from the loss or theft of other mobile devices, such as laptops and tablets.

The recent BYOD (bring your own device) phenomenon means that more people are carrying more personally-owned devices at any given time than ever before. These powerful, network-enabled devices can access, process and store a great deal of data, much of it valuable and often-regulated business data.

There’s been an explosion of corporate data available to users from their mobile devices. This is a real danger and one that is often overlooked. People don’t consider or take action to protect the vast volumes of information they carry and have internet access to.

With the ever-shrinking boundaries between work devices and work-enabled personal devices, lost or stolen smartphones and other mobile devices that fall into the wrong hands place companies and business data at tremendous risk.

Organisations with users who can access corporate information, systems and applications remotely from mobile devices should have sound policies and device management systems in place. To help reduce mobile-access risks, I also recommend that enterprises leverage encryption and digital certificates—with sound certificate-management capabilities—to ensure proper authentication and data protection.

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Gregory Webb has worked in the high tech and enterprise software industry for nearly a decade and oversees marketing at Venafi. Gregory joined the company in 2008. Prior to Venafi, he worked at Novell where he promoted the company's Identity and Workgroup solutions and oversaw the launch of several products. Gregory holds a masters degree from Brigham Young University and a doctorate from the University of California, Los Angeles.