BYOD: Employees Admit Losing Corporate Data

Research by Kroll Ontrack shows that one in eight (12% or 3.1 million) of the UK’s working population have unintentionally lost work data from their work device within the last 12 months, either through malfunction or corruption.

The number of employees accessing work information from a remote device within UK businesses has soared in recent times, with 10.3 million employees now using personal laptops, tablets and handheld devices for carrying out or storing work data.

However, according to Kroll Ontrack research, privacy and security should be major concerns for employers, with employees risking the loss of important work information by using personal devices which are not supplied by their company.

According to the research, and despite the risks of losing confidential work data, one in five (21% or 5.7 million) UK employees admit that they save critical work information on removable media devices such as flash drives. This figure increases to 27% for those aged between 25-34.

Employees were asked, “Which of the following devices do you store work data on, such as documents, photos, emails etc?”

  • I store work data on an employer’s desktop computer (28%)
  • I store work data on a removable media device(s) – flash drives, external hard drives, discs, etc (21%)
  • I carry work data on my own laptop or tablet device (18%)
  • I store work data on my home desktop computer (17%)
  • I carry work data on a laptop or tablet device that is supplied by my employer (10%)
  • I carry work data on my own mobile or handheld device (7%)
  • I store work data on at least one device (mobile/laptop/flash drive) (62%)

“Robert Winter, chief engineer, Kroll Ontrack, said: “One of the biggest challenges for businesses today is to understand and manage the huge quantity of data they hold. Unfortunately, due to an increasingly mobile workforce, the risk of losing confidential data is heightened exponentially, unless the correct preventative action is taken. As a result, businesses are not only jeopardised financially but also run the risk of damaging their reputation.

“Worryingly, 7% of UK employees (1.9 million) are carrying around confidential work data on their own mobile or handheld device which has not been supplied by their employer. This research clearly shows that organisations need to do much more to help protect their data. Companies must implement thorough policies and procedures to help staff understand rules and security features surrounding BYOD.”

It makes a lot of sense for organisations to have a clear data recovery plan in place. When looking for a data recovery provider, make sure the selected provider is willing and able to work with you step-by-step, keeping you apprised of the data recovery process and what can actually be recovered. It is also advisable to find a data recovery provider that has the resources to perform emergency, remote or onsite recoveries and from systems that are proprietary or unique to your environment.

Christian Harris is editor and publisher of BCW. Christian has over 20 years' publishing experience and in that time has contributed to most major IT magazines and Web sites in the UK. He launched BCW in 2009 as he felt there was a need for honest and personal commentary on a wide range of business computing issues. Christian has a BA (Hons) in Publishing from the London College of Communication.