The legal and financial ramifications of sensitive data ending up in the wrong hands are staggering
Hilliard, Oh (PRWEB) April 09, 2012
In response to recent research reports revealing startling discoveries regarding the failure to protect sensitive mobile data, e-Cycle Founder and CEO Christopher Irion announced the launch of a campaign encouraging businesses and organizations to implement responsible mobile reuse and recycling as a key component of their mobile security strategies.
According to Irion, as mobile devices quickly become the prevalent way employees interact with clients and colleagues, mobile data security has never been more critical for businesses, regardless of size or industry. And yet, he says, many organizations do not consider secure mobile reuse and recycling as part of their strategic endpoint data security plan.
“The legal and financial ramifications of sensitive data ending up in the wrong hands are staggering,” Irion said. “Of greater concern are the many organizations that do attempt to put safeguards in place but actually fail to retire their devices in a secure way. They store them in accessible closets or desk drawers, resell or recycle them with uncertified mobile buyback/recycling companies, donate them to charity or entrust their employees to manage the data deletion and recycling themselves. We want to raise awareness to the fact that responsible mobile reuse and recycling must be a critical component of any mobile data security plan.”
To that end, e-Cycle’s campaign will focus on educating companies and organizations about the benefits of mobile security, including how to create a roadmap to safely and securely recycle mobile devices to prevent data breaches. Among the elements of the campaign:
- Media outreach, email campaigns, expert advice articles and speaking engagements at industry events.
- Recommendations on how to thoroughly screen mobile recycling partners, as well as their downstream partners, to build a secure mobile recycling strategy.
- Benefits of using e-Stewards and/or R2 certified companies (which require third-party auditing of their data deletion processes).
- How to ensure data protection through means such as avoiding companies that resell devices on eBay, reviewing the hiring practices and facility security of partners, and carefully reading the “terms and conditions” in regards to data deletion policies of partners.
The campaign comes at a critical time, based on an insightful study by the Ponemon Institute and Websense of more than 4,000 organizations in 12 countries, the results of which found that 77 percent use mobile devices in the workplace, but only 39 percent had security controls in place . The study also found that 59 percent reported that employees circumvent or disengage security features like passwords and key locks. More than half of the companies experienced data loss because of unsecured mobile devices, including laptops, smartphones, USB devices and tablets.
Irion estimates that 90 to 95 percent of mobile device shipments that e-Cycle receives from clients claiming to have removed the data still contain confidential information. A smaller percentage of devices still contain active lines that are continually transmitting information.
“Not all manufacturer resets are created equal, and sensitive information will likely remain even though they claim to erase all data,” Irion said. “A lot of resets miss essential pieces of data or are not built to securely erase data, thus leaving it retrievable. This data could be media content, email associations, corporate applications, corporate policies or wireless activity still transmitting emails due to unclosed accounts.”
The dangers of data breaches are just as great in the resale market. In Electronic Retention: What Does Your Mobile Phone Reveal About You?, researchers in the UK investigated the extent to which sensitive information resides on mobile phones after users attempt to remove the information. For the study, 49 re-sold mobile devices were acquired from secondary markets and examined using mobile forensic toolkits. Every device yielded some user information and 11,135 pieces of information were recovered, confirming that substantial personal information is retained on a typical mobile device.
“Most business smartphones and tablets are retired after 12 to 24 months, but more than 75 percent still retain significant resale value,” Irion said. “Mobile asset recover and reuse makes good business sense because the revenues can greatly offset the cost of upgrading to latest technologies. It is also important from an environmental standpoint because extending the life of wireless devices reduces energy and carbon emissions. However, organizations need to ensure their devices are recycled securely and responsibly.”
e-Cycle helps organizations take a more responsible, secure and profitable approach to wireless mobile phone recycling. e-Cycle collects used mobile devices from businesses and organizations, reimbursing them for devices that retain value and recycling all others at no charge. The information on every phone is either deleted or destroyed using the industry’s most rigorous data security measures. Inc. ranked e-Cycle the #5 Fastest Growing Environmental Services Company in the U.S. and Forbes named e-Cycle the #68 Most Promising, Privately-Held Company in America. In January 2012, e-Cycle became the only mobile buyback and recycling company in the world to become e-Stewards certified. For more information, visit http://www.e-Cycle.com.
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