In today’s work culture of ‘always on, always accessible’, employees have expectations of seamless access to documents and files both on and off the company network and on mobiles or tablets, without concern for potential security issues.

According to a Cisco study, the average number of connected devices an employee will own for work is expected to be 3.5 by the end of 2014. The increasing popularity of mobile devices, as well as company-wide BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies, offers businesses many opportunities but, if not managed carefully, also comes with great risks.

A study by EE found that in the UK alone nearly 10 million work-devices were lost or stolen in 2013. This of course presents many challenges to managers wishing to maintain a work environment that is rich in features and accessibility yet one which is not detrimental to security.

With only seven per cent of stolen devices ever being recovered, the resulting potential for data leakage is huge. The majority of work-related electronic devices contain sensitive or confidential information, but how many of them can be traced or remote wiped in the event of loss or theft? Without adequate protection in place, company data is vulnerable to exposure. However, research shows that only 14 per cent of companies currently have a mobile device security policy in place. So what can be done to maintain an always accessible work environment through device proliferation whilst ensuring protection against data leakage?

A common approach to data management is to undertake the arduous and ultimately counter-productive task of trying to lock down the corporate network and mobile devices in order to limit and control employees’ use of the many cloud services available today. Whilst this often has a limited degree of success in ensuring that employees don’t use consumer cloud services on the corporate network, it is far from effective.

There are now services available that address data management and leakage issues whilst allowing IT administrators to provide company staff with user-friendly remote and mobile access and file sync and share functionality, giving them the ability to access and collaborate on their files from anywhere. Managers should be considering these secure, scaleable services that enable the same level of access and productivity as their unsecure consumer-focussed counterparts without detrimentally impacting upon security.

Read more: The biggest threat to your company’s data security could be your employees

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