Author: Pete Steege

Pete Steege

Lost mobile phones leak lots of data

Did you know that people in Philadelphia lose their cell phones about six times more often than people in Chicago?

Or that the most common place to lose a phone in San Francisco is a coffee shop, while in London it’s a pub?

The Mobile Lost & Found site is full of these tidbits.  While the trivia is quirky and fun, underlying it all is a disturbing trend for businesses: a lot of lost phones carrying a lot of sensitive business content.

For an Apple employee, the phone itself was the sensitive content.

Here’s some scary math:

Combine how often the average person loses their mobile phone (answer: about once a year) with how often strangers try to access data from a lost phone (answer: about 96% of the time), and multiply that by how many of us use our phones to access sensitive business content (answer: not sure, but 53% of U.S. consumers now use smartphones).

Businesses see this as a real threat, and IT departments are trying to adapt.  The key is to secure content on mobile devices without hampering business productivity.  That’s not an easy task now that employees are frequently using their personal devices for business content.

How does IT respond?  Focus on securing the content vs. securing the phone.  This is consistent with other IT trends like VM and Cloud Computing that focus on the data first, and where it happens to reside second.



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