Don’t Put Down That iPad — 8,000 Mobile Devices Left At Top U.S. Airports

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The flight is boarding and you are in a rush. You get on the plane.  At 10,000 feet,  you reach into your bag. Your laptop is not there.

It happens all the time. In fact, according to a new survey, more than 8,000 devices are left at seven of the largest airports in the United States, including: Chicago O’Hare, Denver International, San Francisco International, Charlotte Douglas, Miami International, Orlando International and Minneapolis/St. Paul.

The survey by Credant Technologies reveals some of the downsides of mobile and the security issues raided when the devices get lost.  Here’s the breakdown:

  • Smartphones and tablets: 3,444 (43.0%)
  • Laptops: 3,576 (44.6%)
  • USB drives: 996 (12.4%)

People mostly leave devices at TSA checkpoints and restrooms. All but one of the airports donates the devices to charities. One airport sends the left behind devices to the authorities.

It’s evident then why the enterprise market now has its own category for “mobile device management. (MDM)” CIOs and IT managers are finding an increasing need for technology that protects these devices left in TSA bins, bathroom stalls and any other place you can imagine.

Gartner Research published a report on the topic last year.  The report lists some recommendations:

  • Choose MDM offerings that support a lightweight management approach, with mobile agents and server-side platforms, when your security and management requirements are limited and deep control is not accepted by employees using personal devices. Examples include Zenprise, MobileIron, BoxTone, Fiberlink and AirWatch.
  • Choose MDM offerings that support a heavyweight approach to deliver secure and manageable corporate email to consumer and personal devices when strict security and compliance requirements apply. Containers can enforce stronger separation among personal and corporate content. Examples include Good Technology, Excitor and Sybase.
  • The iPhone 3GS and later hardware platforms ship with always-on hardware encryption. When iOS 4.2 was introduced, it added a new data protection class that allows third-party applications to manage their own encryption keys, reducing the risk of data leakage on a jailbroken device. The new data protection classes are activated upon the full installation of iOS 4 or later.

MDM has steep demand. And it always will as long as we keep forgetting our tablets after we put our shoes back on at TSA security.