Gartner Research

Secure Data Disposal for Smartphones and Tablets Is a Mandatory Ingredient for a Successful Mobile Device Program

Published: 24 July 2013

ID: G00251260

Analyst(s): Leslie Fiering, Bryan Taylor, Leif-Olof Wallin, John Girard


Data sanitization of mobile devices that have been lost, stolen, upgraded, reached end of life or departed with a former employee is becoming increasingly complex. IT leaders must understand that, in many cases, a simple selective or complete remote wipe is not enough to make the data unrecoverable.

Table Of Contents
  • Key Challenges



  • Account for the Scenarios That May Expose Data
  • The range of scenarios that needs to be covered suggests that a full life cycle approach to the device needs to be maintained. These scenarios include, but are not limited to:
  • Understand That Mobile Device Data Is a Moving Target
  • Be Aware That Solid State Memory (Flash) Presents Challenges
  • Determine How Far to Go With Personal Data
  • Watch Out for Jailbreak and Rooting
    • Impact of Encryption
  • Insist on Having Data Sanitization and Protection Policies and Processes in Place at the Outset of Any Mobile Device Enrollment
  • Do Not Allow Any BYOD Devices on the Network That Don't Meet Technical/Configuration Requirements or Where the Employees Haven't Yet Signed the BYOD Contract/Policy
  • Limit the Number of Devices a User Can Concurrently Enroll in the Program
  • Encrypt Organizational Data on Mobile Devices
  • Invest in Technology and/or Services to Support the BYOD Program
  • Remove Aged and Nonessential Data From Devices
  • Performing a Factory Reset, at Minimum, to Wipe a Device Is Prudent in Many Situations, Even With User-Owned Devices

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