Companies are still not getting to grips with the security dangers of mobile computing and consumerisation, and they are risking their reputation and business on a single point of failure – their most careless employee.

Organisations have continually been in the news for losing unencrypted data, often through employee carelessness. We know that this represents only the tip of a large data loss iceberg, yet organisations in the public and private sector continue to allow staff to access, download and lose data, both on unsecured home PCs and on unmanaged USBs.

I believe that part of the reason that more companies have not introduced secure mobile computing is the rapid growth of remote and mobile working, which has mushroomed and made it a nightmare for IT administrators to track and manage remote PCs, laptops and storage devices such as USB flash drives and removable hard drives.

However, companies are now having to address this issue. The cost of security breaches is extremely high, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is getting tougher on fining companies who do not comply with security standards, and any publicity surrounding security breaches is very harmful.

There’s also the ethical issue of making sure you look after any sensitive personal, health, financial data, etc. which you may hold on people.

Given the low cost of protecting and managing data, versus the high cost of data loss, demand was growing strongly for solutions, such as those from Imation Mobile Security, which allow IT administrators to easily view, manage and secure their network of remote and mobile workers.

Products, which provide the highest levels of mobile data security, include encrypted flash drives, encrypted external hard drives and encrypted optical discs, with features such as extreme robustness, anti-malware, remote management capabilities, and the ability to wipe lost or stolen devices.

Nick Banks, VP EMEA & APAC, Imation Mobile Security, commented: “Today, technology exists to protect businesses data on portable devices such as flash drives. Encryption is readily available that makes data accessible and usable for only authorised employees. The ICO recognises that even if encrypted data is lost or stolen, it is not vulnerable to compromise. The ICO have been very clear in advising businesses to encrypt all data which mobile workers access, remove and store on their mobile computing devices.

“However, businesses need to be ready to respond to the enquiries of regulators and go beyond just simple encryption, by implementing an auditable data protection record. This way, any questions regulators may ask can be easily answered.

“The ideal solution is a managed service which would allow the IT department to manage the encrypted devices so they can track and ultimately destroy any data which is lost or stolen. This doesn’t give carte blanche for mobile workers to treat devices without a care, but most importantly it gives businesses the assurance that data cannot be misused if lost. And critically important, in today’s regulatory environment, businesses are safeguarded from fines and the resulting consequences following a data breach.”