Why do BYOD smartphones and tablets get remotely wiped?

​Do you BYOD? If you do then be aware that you could find your smartphone or tablet wiped without warning for one of a number of reasons.

Do you BYOD? If you do then be aware that you could find your smartphone or tablet wiped without warning for one of a number of reasons. Plenty of people - one every three minutes is the claim made by one report - wake up or walk into a meeting or try to contact a friend or family member only to find their device wiped.

Scary thought.

But why are these devices being wiped? Here are some of the common - and not so common - reasons:

  • Loss or theft: The most common reason for wiping devices is loss or theft. While this acts as a way to prevent company data falling into wrong hands, it also nukes any personal data. On top of that, if the device later reappears - perhaps it fell behind the sofa cushions - then it means more work for the IT gang.

  • Jailbreaking or rooting: Mess around with the security features built into your device and expect it to get wiped.

  • Irregular activity: Little Jimmy gotten hold of your device and tried to get into it to play Angry Birds? Entering the wrong passcode too many times can trigger a wipe.

  • Installing an unauthorized app: If you're lucky, only the banned app will be deleted, but don't count on this.

  • Exit wipe: Some companies carry out an "exit wipe" on devices when an employee leaves the company. Sometimes users are made aware of this, other times it just happens.

  • Accident/malicious wipe: Yes, it does happen.

You could also lose your device - and the data on it - in other ways. It could be confiscated for legal examination in conjunction with a corporate litigation matter or other legal or security issue. At this point, an employee can expect everything on their device to be examined, which is likely to be an unpleasant experience.

To discover the circumstances under which your devices can be wiped, take a look at your company's BYOD policy.

What can you do to prevent losing your kid's birthday party photos or the phone number of your favorite restaurant? Simple: Back up your data.

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