Sensitive data is piling up on enterprise devices, Windows 10 machines behind on patching

Directly after the WHO declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, an estimated 16 million US employees were sent home and instructed to work remotely, while governments around the world implemented widespread school closures impacting over 90 percent of the world’s student population, Absolute reveals.

sensitive data enterprise devices

This result placed IT and security teams under immediate pressure to quickly stand up work-from-home or learn-from-home environments to ensure continued productivity, connectivity, and security.

“COVID-19 marks the beginning of a new era where we believe the nature of work will be forever changed,” said Christy Wyatt, President and CEO of Absolute.

“As this crisis took hold, we saw our customers mobilize quickly to get devices into the hands of students and employees and navigate the challenges of standing up remote work and distance learning programs. What has become resoundingly clear is there has never been a more critical time for having undeletable endpoint resilience.”

Sensitive data is building up on enterprise devices

There has been a 46 percent increase in the number of items of sensitive data – such as Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and Protected Health Information (PHI) – identified on enterprise endpoints, compared to pre-COVID-19. Compounded by the pre-existing gaps in endpoint security and health, this means enterprise organizations are at heightened risk.

Enterprises at heightened risk of data breaches or compliance violations

On average, one in four enterprise endpoint devices have a critical security application (anti-malware, encryption, VPN, or client management) that is missing, inactive or out-of-date.

With the significant increases in sensitive data being stored on enterprise endpoint devices, enterprises are putting themselves at risk of legal compliance violations and data breaches as COVID-19 cyber attacks accelerate.

sensitive data enterprise devices

Employee and student device usage continues to rise post-pandemic

The data shows a nearly 50 percent increase in the amount of heavy device usage – 8+ hours per day – across enterprise organizations, jumping to an increase of 62 percent in heavy education device usage. The average number of hours education endpoint devices are being used daily is also up 27 percent.

Patch management plaguing both enterprise and education IT teams

Device health sees slight improvement, but patch management continues to plague both enterprise and education IT teams. The average enterprise endpoint device running Windows 10 continues to be nearly 3 months behind in applying the latest patch, with that delay spiking to more than 180 days since a patch has been applied to the average student Windows 10 device – leaving students and employees vulnerable.

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Sensitive data is piling up on enterprise devices, Windows 10 machines behind on patching