News/Trends, Tech/Engineering

It’s a Wild, Wild World for Mobile Data

A wild world lurks outside the confines of the corporate firewall. Mobile data is moving all around, and the threats are abundant – device loss, device theft, malicious insiders, malevolent outsiders, and litigation, to name a few. Governing and protecting data in this environment is uniquely challenging.

One of the hardest things to do with data existing in the wild world outside the firewall is simply tracking it. Where is it? What is it? Who’s got it? How has it changed? IT can get this information on data behind the firewall, at least on well-managed storage systems residing in the data center. But management tools for mobile data are not as well-known or widely adopted, and many companies trust their mobile data to end-users and cheap cloud sharing vendors. Hardly a good idea, but this is exactly what most organizations have been doing for the last several years.

This hands-off policy is the result of an outdated cost/benefit equation: is the cost of tracking and protecting mobile data significantly higher than the benefits of doing so? It used to be. Mobile data represented a small percentage of corporate data, and few vendors offered the tools corporations would have needed. It seemed like an acceptable risk to leave remote data to the users’ discretion and not try to centralize management. Highly valuable data could be protected with a VPN, and rest was up to the end-users.

The Pendulum Swings

Now with fast-growing remote data (nearly 35% of corporate data is mobile) the risk vs. benefits equation has swung back the other way. There are high risks attached to not monitoring and protecting mobile data, and tools to enable mobile data management are in the market.

It’s an important task. The sheer scale of endpoint data demands centralized management. Data throughout corporations are doubling per year or even faster, and edge data is responsible for a large percentage of that growth.

Devices are growing right along with the data. More and more business users are using mobile devices for business: smartphones, laptops, tablets. Users share files between their own devices and share them with other users. This endless replication—about 80% of remote data are actually copies—adds to extreme data growth.

On top of that, traveling employees provide their own share of data security issues. Forrester estimates that 57% of the global workforce works from multiple locations in a given work week. These employees connect their mobile devices to hotel, airport and restaurant wireless networks that are hardly paragons of security.

Monitor. Protect. Govern.

Given the nature of mobile data and the threats outside the firewall, how can companies put the right practices and tools in place to address these challenges? The keys to the kingdom are centrally monitoring, protecting, and governing.

Monitor, Govern, and Protect Data in the Wild


  • Monitor data in the wild. Without any visibility into data, IT has no way to mitigate exposure to risk. Gain visibility and control by capturing endpoint data and gaining full visibility into it.
  • Protect data in the wild. Devices get lost and data gets exposed with alarming frequency. Protect data and devices from accident or malice, prevent data exposure by controlling activity, and survive loss or theft without losing too much sleep.
  • Govern data in the wild. Compliance and governance are tough to do even behind the firewall, and harder outside of it. Most eDiscovery solutions do not include the capability to gather data from endpoint devices. Use the right tools to effectively collect and preserve data for eDiscovery and compliance actions.

In our next two posts we’ll go into more detail on monitoring, protecting and governing. In the meantime, check out our Survival Guide for Data in the Wild to learn more about defending your data in the wild.