Mobile device strategies can make or break an organization: New data on the challenges of enterprise-owned mobility programs

The cost of implementing an enterprise-owned mobile device program can be staggering. Despite these devices offering high-impact ROI, organizations are struggling to harness it. A new research report breaks down the numbers behind the challenges organizations face when implementing mobile devices, and the strategies they’re taking to remediate them. 

No matter the industry, an organization’s ability to thrive is dependent upon productivity. And productivity in the digital age has become increasingly dependent on a workforce being able to connect, efficiently and securely, through mobile devices.

Mobile devices are a wonderful tool for communication and collaboration, information access, and doing business with colleagues and customers around the globe without anyone getting on a plane. But not all businesses that implement enterprise-owned mobile devices can reap the full benefits that these tools have to offer – at least not right away. For many, mobile devices introduce significant operational, financial, and security consequences that must be dealt with first.

Applying a robust access management strategy with the right mobile solutions requires an understanding of what the challenges are and how they impact organizations using enterprise-owned mobile devices.

The Ponemon report by the numbers

The findings of the latest Ponemon research report, “Unlocking the cost of chaos: The state of enterprise mobility in life- and mission-critical industries” highlight, underline, italicize, and bold the fact that profit and productivity decline when mobile devices are lost or unusable. Specifically, problems with mobile devices lead to an average of 872 hours of unplanned downtime each week. And when it comes to having confidence in their organization’s ability to secure these devices, only 28% of IT and IT security practitioners believe their company’s mobile security strategy can truly safeguard sensitive data.

The findings were derived by surveying 1,795 IT and IT security practitioners in the United States, Australia, Germany, and the United Kingdom, who are familiar with their organization’s mobile workflow strategies, requirements, and security practices. Survey questions were designed to gather data on the current state of these organizations’ management of employee mobile devices, and their ability to protect access to mobile applications without disrupting workflows or hindering productivity.

The report’s focus is enterprise-provided mobile devices, but specifically includes organizations using 1:1 enterprise-owned mobile devices, those using shared enterprise-owned devices, and those using both 1:1 enterprise-owned and shared enterprise-owned devices. The industry sectors surveyed were manufacturing, transportation and logistics, healthcare, retail, and gaming.

Overall, the Ponemon Institute report confirms the significant impact that success or failure of enterprise-owned mobile device strategies can have on an organization’s finances, security, operations, and ability to thrive.

The impact of lost devices

Replacing lost devices is one of the most straightforward mobile challenges that organizations face. On average, approximately 203 hours are spent replacing lost devices each year. The average cost to replace a single device is $864, and the total annual cost spent on devices alone averages $5.45 million.

Nearly five and a half million is a high cost, but the actual cost is even higher — approximately $1.4 million higher, once you consider the cost of IT security and help desk support, plus idle time, and diminished productivity. Then there’s the impossible-to-quantify cost of diverting resources away from other IT and security obligations. At best, this limits an organization’s technical progress and innovation — at worst, it creates dangerous gaps in their security posture.

Lost and stolen devices are a common source for data breaches, as is unauthorized access. In the Ponemon survey, 54% of organizations reported experiencing a data breach stemming from inappropriate access to an employee’s mobile device. The costliest data breach suffered by respondents topped $2.2 million, which can be broken down into four approximately equal quarters. Twenty-three percent of the cost ($510,597) was based on the value of the data or device compromised, 25% ($554,801) on reputational damage and loss of customer goodwill, another 25% ($554,801) on the cost of regulatory or non-compliance violations, and 27% ($590,855) was related to identifying, containing, and remediating the breach.

The hard truth

These findings, taken with the rest of the data gathered in the report, make it clear that the cost of implementing enterprise mobile devices without a robust security and access management strategy can be staggering. But simultaneously, enterprise mobile devices offer a high-impact ROI and enormous growth potential. To reap these rewards, organizations must implement effective mobile solutions that harness this potential.

For a deep dive into the specific challenges experienced by organizations with enterprise-owned mobile devices, download the full report.