Corporate IT managers don't have clue about their employees' mobile devices and how they could potentially kidnap proprietary information, Citrix VP Elizabeth Cholawsky told IBTimes.
Companies like the productivity gain from employees using their smartphones and laptops to get and transmit company data, she added. Trouble is most of them have little or no idea how much information can walk out without safeguards.
A first step, Cholawsky, Citrix VP and general manager for IT services, told IBTimes, is to have them self-report to management so that their products can be checked, registered and potentially wiped clean if stolen.
The second step is to ensure corporate and personally identifiable information doesn't go onto the device, using Citrix's Go to Manage software or some other product, Cholawsky added.
Citrix, based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is one of the biggest developers of enterprise software for networks. An IT manager can enter and program thousands of PCs or workstations seamlessly.
To help make its point, the company commissioned a global survey of about 1,100 senior IT executives in the U.S., UK, France, Germany and Australia by YouGov and ResearchNow that found 62 percent of all businesses now lack any controls to manage employee devices.
Alarmingly, 45 percent of the polled IT managers weren't aware their employees were using mobile devices.
Citrix is far from the sole technology company seeking to raise consciousness and sell new products on account of this phenomenon: In the past month, IBM and LANDesk Software have announced new software products and veterans in the field such as Microsoft and Symantec have tried to raise awareness.
The developers see an opportunity: tablet shipments are expected to reach 60 million this year while smartphone shipments will reach 478 million, market researcher IHSiSuppli estimates.
Cholawski said Citrix's Go to Manage product, which sells for $89 a month for 10 servers and up to 90 Android devices, would be cost-effective. Once installed, an employee using a private Android phone would have to log in and authenticate identity, which might take an extra few seconds, she said.
It may be annoying, the Citrix VP said, but it could go a long way to keep data from leaving without permission.
Meanwhile, the Citrix expert said, companies still will be vulnerable to attacks by so-called malware as well as employees seeking to steal information deliberately.
You can't stop that, she told IBTimes.
Citrix shares fell nearly three percent to $68.57 in Monday's overall market decline. The company's market capitalization is $12.8 billion and enterprise value is $12.4 billion.