Survey Shows Prevalence of Data Storage on Personal Devices and Lost Data

October 8, 2012

New research commissioned by Kroll Ontrack suggests that one in eight (12%) of the UK’s working population have unintentionally lost work data from their work device within the last 12 months, either through malfunction or corruption. That is 3.1 million employees if the 2,000-employee sample typifies the workforce

The number of employees accessing work information from a remote device within UK businesses has soared in recent times. It is estimated that 10.3 million employees now use personal laptops, tablets and handheld devices for carrying out or storing work data. However, according to the research, employees are risking the loss of important work information by using personal devices which are not supplied by their employer.

According to the research, and despite the risks of losing confidential work data, one in five (21%) UK employees admit that they save critical work information on removable media devices such as flash drives. This figure increases to 27% for those aged between 25-34.

Employees were asked, ‘Which of the following devices do you store work data on, such as documents, photos, e-mails etc?’

I store work data on an employer’s desktop computer


I store work data on a removable media device(s) – flash drives, external hard drives, discs, etc


I carry work data on my own laptop or tablet device


I store work data on my home desktop computer


I carry work data on a laptop or tablet device that is supplied by my employer


I carry work data on my own mobile or handheld device


I store work data on at least one device (mobile/laptop/flash drive)


Multiple responses permitted


Robert Winter, chief engineer at Kroll Ontrack, said ‘One of the biggest challenges for businesses today is to understand and manage the huge quantity of data they hold. Unfortunately, due to an increasingly mobile workforce, the risk of losing confidential data is heightened exponentially, unless the correct preventative action is taken. As a result, businesses are not only jeopardised financially but also run the risk of damaging their reputation. Worryingly, 7% of UK employees (1.9 million) are carrying around confidential work data on their own mobile or handheld device which has not been supplied by their employer. This research clearly shows that organisations need to do much more to help protect their data. Companies must implement thorough policies and procedures to help staff understand rules and security features surrounding BYOD.’