Data recovery software: what to do before wiping it all out

by Matias Wolff 30, Jan, 2017

Anti theft security is not just about protecting your laptop or mobile phone, but the sensitive information that they store. As a CEO or CIO, you're not only concerned about mobile tracking devices. The value of a security software also lies in protecting your data. The cost of your device is nothing, but data recovery is everything. The fruit of your company’s labor is priceless and precious…

my_precious.gifBut we can’t store it all in a box.  As modern corporations of the 21st century, we’ve embedded information technology throughout or company’s structure, into sensors, processors, cloud computing, laptops and mobile devices.

We don’t only want our team connected; we need them connected to sensitive data, while on the road. This sounds great until we realize our IT assets are under threat all the time.

In the United Kingdom, police were investigating the theft of 3,000 photographs of the British Royal Family, after hackers broke into Pippa Middleton’s iCloud account, the Duchess of Cambridge’s sister. 

Why don’t we leave it to a gossip magazine? Because the Royal Family is not your average group meeting through Thanksgiving. They’re a running business.

just_business.gifThe Sun said it had been approached by someone using a pseudonym and asking for £50,000 within 48 hours!

Your data is out there, whether you like it or not. Securing laptops and mobile devices implies safekeeping any sensitive information they store. 

According to PC World, 1 out of 10 laptops is stolen each year, many containing sensitive corporate data. Some companies are taking steps to avoid data breaches from device theft.  For instance, when a laptop was stolen from an insurance provider in Oregon, it contained the data on 15,000 members.

“It’s a lot easier to steal a laptop than it is to hack into a corporate database, so the theft and loss of laptops, as well as desktops and flash drives, highlight the need for enhanced physical security and employee training.”

CIO.com reports that, regarding laptop security,

  • 80% If corporate laptops and desktops contain sensitive data
  • 46% of IT decision makers are storing sensitive data in the cloud.
  • The average global data breach can cost US$3.79 million

A Harvard Business Review (HBR) Analysis shows that device protection and data security is a primary task for organizations that face threats from competitors and others "who may find their proprietary information too tempting not to try to steal.”

Despite top executives regarding themselves as “doing a great job” controlling cyber risk, often responsibility remains concentrated with -yes,  Johnny, you guessed it!-  the chief information officer (CIO) or head of technology.

“Information—even the most private, it sometimes appears—is more available today than ever, thanks to digitization, the Internet, and social media., ” tells the HBR.

However, if we fail to keep our data secure we could be sued or fined by customers, clients, employees or suppliers.

Privacy Rights Clearinghouse reports that, out of the data breaches reported in the United States in 2014, 50% were hacking malware, 15.6% were an unintended disclosure, 11.1% were on a portable device, and 7% were due to a physical loss! 

In fact, the most recent generation of workers to join companies "has grown up with openness and information sharing as a cultural norm,” as the HBR reports.  In summary,

  • 28% of executives say that theft or loss of mobile devices is the most concern for their organization
  • 62% listed wrongful disclosure of customer information as a top-five concern,
  • Only 45% are using inventories of authorized and unauthorized software and devices.

Keep your mobile devices and data safe

 Stolen laptop? Wipe it all out!

Tech 4 Business Now reports that a tech “remote wipe” could prevent your data from falling into the hands of the wrong people. If a device becomes lost or stolen, companies can turn to remote wipes to protect sensitive business data as part of their mobile security measures.

It quotes a survey conducted by Penton Research, where  45% of respondents said they were “moderately” or “very” interested in the ability to remotely wipe from specific mobile devices.

But what if the device is not even yours?

"I want my kitty pics back!"

Yes, the valuable company data is yours, but that laptop or mobile device is your employees'. CIO.com discusses that in companies where there is a Bring your Own Device (BYOD) policy, 7 out of 10 people would avoid using a personal device for work if they knew and the employer could remotely wipe it, and 2 thirds say they are allowed to use devices to access company information.

What a predicament.

Wall Street Journal has reported that “employers can remotely erase data from those devices, and they aren't required to make a distinction between personal and professional information. Workers at a variety of companies report losing their lists of contacts and treasured photos.”

Worst, 2 out of 5 respondents could wait a few hours to a few weeks reporting a missing device, fearing that IT would do a remote wipe. “This essentially creates a window of risk for corporate data loss,” CIO says.

In the era of cloud storage, tech-savvy thieves “are quick to turn the stolen device off, put it into airplane mode or throw it in a special box or container that renders connectivity to the device impossible.”

Tech 4 Business suggests three options to protect your data remotely and run a data wipe with care:

  1. Turn to your mobile provider, where it can perform a remote wipe for you, but you’ll need to have a cellular device app already installed.
  2. Implement software to perform a remote wipe. This is far more secure than a factory reset, but it must be connected to the internet.
  3. Rely on encryption. As a business could initiate a remote wipe on the containerized app, rendering the data “unreadable.”

What other concerns do you have with your company data recovery software?

Matias Wolff
Matias Wolff

CMO at Prey. BA in Advertising with a major in Marketing from Universidad del Pacífico. Master in International Marketing at ESMA, Barcelona. 18 years’ experience in multinational companies. I am a volunteer at the Endeavor program, and teach Integrated Marketing Communications at the Masters in Innovation program, Universidad Católica de Chile.
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