User carelessness is costing IT departments dear
Staff carelessness with cheap and plentiful technology is causing funding and security problems
Mobile workers in the UK are becoming increasingly careless with their IT devices, with 47 per cent of companies now operating a contingency fund to replace them.
This is the finding of research done for software company Citrix by independent research company Coleman Parkes. Seventy per cent of companies running a fund for replacing lost kit are having to increase it year on year as falling hardware prices make mobile kit more expendable, it claims.
Part of the problem is also the increasing number of devices needed to make the most of flexible working environments, says Richard Jackson, UK managingdirector at Citrix.
"People are no longer dealing with just laptops - BlackBerrys, PDAs, and mobile phones now make up the armoury of the average road warrior," he said. "With so many gadgets to keep hold of it's not surprising that employees are losing them left, right and centre."
But he warned that, aside from the cost of replacing devices, the potential damage from the loss of sensitive data is vast and could be far more devastating to the business than the value of the hardware.
Rob Bamforth, research analyst with Quocirca, agrees that misplaced information is the real risk. "Data and access are more valuable than the price of silicon," he says.
Bamforth says the onus is now on companies to do what they can to make mobile workers more conscious of the problem. "If people buy into the value of what's being lost and feel a sense of ownership for it, then they might be less irresponsible," he says. "But you can't force it on people. If your security policy is just a long series of 'thou shalts' then it will be ignored. You can't stop things getting lost occasionally, but you can change people's behaviour."
Employees carelessness means companies need to invest not only in replacing lost equipment, but also in protecting information on these devices, concludes Jackson. "By managing information within the company perimeter businesses can be confident that if devices are misplaced the information held on them does not fall into the wrong hands."
"It's inevitable that with out hectic lifestyle devices will get misplaced, but there is no need to fear losing control over who is accessing the network if the appropriate infrastructure is in place," said Jackson. "By examining their access strategy, businesses can implement practices that will keep data secure and control who can access what and from where. This 'smart' approach to remote access will reap benefits for regulatory compliance and improved staff productivity."
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