Nearly 40 Percent Of IT Decision Makers Report Unintentional Exposure Of Corporate Data Through Theft Or Loss Of Removable Devices

Imation survey reveals that 91 percent of companies allow removable storage devices on their corporate networks, but only 34 percent enforce encryption on those devices

February 29, 2012

5 Min Read


OAKDALE, Minn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Imation Corp. (NYSE: IMN), a global scalable storage and data security company, today revealed the results of a recent survey of 302 IT decision makers in the U.S. and Canada, which was conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Imation. According to the survey, 37 percent of IT decision makers reported that their business had unintentionally exposed corporate data through theft or loss of removable devices in the past two years. Despite this, only 34 percent enforce encryption on all removable devices allowed on their networks (25 percent in the U.S. and 51 percent in Canada).

Other key findings from the survey include:

91 percent of companies allow removable storage devices on their corporate networks, including USB flash drives, smartphones (e.g., iPhones and Android devices), tablets (e.g., iPads and Android tablets) and optical media. While 81 percent of businesses have a policy regarding encryption of corporate data on employees’ own removable storage devices, nearly two-thirds of businesses report not enforcing encryption on those devices. 20 percent of businesses report not having a defined action plan to deal with a data breach, nor do they have intentions to draft one.

“While most of the world’s enterprises are focused on protecting their networks from external threats from malware and hackers, the bigger risk for a data breach appears to be inside the organization. Workers are moving mass volumes of data on unsecured devices, often their own iPhones and flash drives, out of the network every day, and this makes businesses vulnerable to loss or theft of corporate or customer data,” said Lawrence Reusing, general manager, Mobile Security for Imation. “As the research illuminates, most organizations do not have a handle on the devices and data that can walk out their door every day.”

Additional Key Findings:

Removable Storage Devices Allowed on the Company Network – Across the U.S. and Canada, 91 percent of IT decision makers report that their company allows the use of removable storage devices on the corporate network. These devices allowed include, USB flash drives (83 percent), smartphones (72 percent), external hard drives (65 percent), tablets (62 percent), optical media (49 percent) and memory cards (56 percent). Only 9 percent of IT decision makers report that their company does not allow any removable storage devices to be used.

Company Policy on Enforcing the Encryption of Corporate Data on Removable Storage Devices – Overall, 81 percent of U.S. and Canadian IT decision makers report that their companies have a policy regarding the encryption of corporate data on employees’ removable storage devices; however, only 34 percent enforce encryption on both personal and company devices on their networks, and only 35 percent enforce encryption on company issued devices. Twelve percent leave it to the user to enforce encryption.

“I was surprised at the number of companies that do not enforce encryption. The good news is that there are solutions and best practices available to companies that want to gain the benefits of mobility for their workers while using removable storage devices to maintain and manage high levels of security for corporate and customer data,” Reusing continued.

Furthermore, additional research has shown that more than 50 percent of employees use portable devices to take confidential data out of their business daily.i And, according to a Ponemon Institute study, 75 percent of organizations have suffered data loss from negligent or malicious insiders.ii

Best Practices for Secure Mobility

Imation offers the following best practices to protect your organization from data loss or theft: 1.

Establish systems, policies and standards for new devices you bring into the workplace.


All removable media and mobile devices should be encrypted.


Implement centralized management of removable storage devices, including “remote kill” – disabling the device when it is connected to the internet – when possible.


Implement audit and compliance controls so you know what is on those devices. 2.

Employ solutions on the market that are available for managing and encrypting the removable storage devices that you already have in the organization.

Imation Mobile Security

Imation’s Secure Data, Identity and Mobile Workspace product set helps organizations protect against data loss and supports compliance strategies, providing users secure and convenient access to their data and applications wherever they are, while delivering the highest levels of security, compliance and management control over a range of USB devices and removable media. For additional information about Imation’s mobile security offerings, please visit:

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Imation from February 2-10, 2012 among 201 U.S. and 101 Canadian IT decision makers, defined as adults aged 18 years or older who are employed full or part time in an Information Technology (IT) department and are either the sole decision maker or have a major influence in decisions regarding IT for their company. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact [email protected].

About Imation

Imation is a global scalable storage and data security company. Our portfolio includes tiered storage and security offerings for business, and products designed to manage audio and video information in the home. Imation reaches customers in more than 100 countries through a powerful global distribution network and well recognized brands. For more information please visit,

Keep up with the latest cybersecurity threats, newly discovered vulnerabilities, data breach information, and emerging trends. Delivered daily or weekly right to your email inbox.

You May Also Like

More Insights