Nearly Five Percent of All Smartphones Lost Every Year

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Robert Siciliano

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McAfee and Ponemon Institute recently released “The Lost Smartphone Problem,” a study that attempts to determine how many employees’ smartphones are lost or stolen, and the consequences of these lost cell phones on various organizations.

Among the 439 sample organizations, the number of missing smartphones is significant: 142,708 in one year.

Approximately 62% of smartphones are company owned devices assigned to employees for business use. 38% are personally owned and are used for business. Roughly 4.3% of these employee smartphones are lost or stolen each year.

Of the 142,706 smartphones reported missing by the 439 businesses surveyed, only 9,298—7%—were recovered. 13% of the missing smartphones were lost in the workplace, 29% were lost while traveling, and 47% were lost while employees were working away from the office, either at home or hotel rooms.

Employees were unsure where the remaining 11% were lost. And despite the fact that 60% of missing smartphones are believed to contain sensitive and confidential information, 57% were not protected with available security features.

The industries reporting the highest rate of smartphone loss were health and pharmaceuticals, education and research, and public sector organizations.

Based on the costly consequences of lost data assets, it makes sense to allocate the necessary resources to invest in anti-theft and data protection solutions in order to secure smartphones and the sensitive and confidential information they contain.

Robert Siciliano is an Online Security Evangelist to McAfee. See him discussing identity theft on YouTube.(Disclosures)

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