Business Technology Analysisdata sprawl

Data is growing at an exponential rate due to the increased use of mobile devices. Each device has valuable data, such as employee private information, customer account data, and intellectual properties. Also, employees are leaving the confines of their offices at an increasing rate to work at home or while on the go. They rely on cloud services to access the information they need to get their work done, including email systems, file-sharing services, and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software.

The growing data sprawl challenge

However, as mobile and cloud technologies continue to grow, organizations will have more difficulty controlling where all their streams of information are going, leading to data sprawl:

  • The average mobile employee carries 3.5 mobile devices including laptops, smartphones, and tablets (CIO Review).
  • 57% of the global workforce works from multiple locations each week (Computer World).
  • 30% more BYOD smartphones are added each year in the US workplace (Forrester Research).
  • The typical enterprise uses more than 14 public cloud apps (Citrix).

If data streams are not monitored, companies are at risk of data loss, security breaches, and compliance violations. Plus, your business would lose money on unneeded data storage and cloud services.

What are examples of problematic data sprawl situations?

  • HR employees save confidential files to a shared network drive that can be easily accessed by other employees.
  • A CEO stores intellectual property data on his/her unencrypted laptop and then it is stolen at the airport.
  • Launching a development version of a company application on Amazon Web Services (AWS) but not deleting it when it is no longer needed.
  • The company paying for unused Zoho CRM accounts even though the sales department switched to Salesforce.

How can your business manage data sprawl?

Organizations must balance productivity, flexibility, and security when managing data streams. Your organization can limit data sprawl by:

  • Running a business technology analysis to determine which programs are being used by each department. SwiftTech Solutions can do a thorough audit of your IT systems including infrastructure, technology costs, software applications, and hardware. Your business may discover wasteful programs and resources that can be cut.
  • Creating an IT roadmap that dictates how your technology will support your business strategy. recommends including your company’s strategic priorities, project timelines, list of improvement opportunities, justifications for each project, cost and duration of projects, and the company’s project point of contact.
  • Keeping an inventory of data and technology assets. Examples include network drives, employee tax data, and customer records. Grant access to these assets to staff members only if it is relevant to their job duties.
  • Setting up virtual computer desktops your staff can access on any device. Each staff member would sign onto a web portal to access their computer desktop. Your company can standardize the operating system, user interface, software suite, and application stores allowed on the desktop. SwiftTech Solutions provides virtual desktops in our Desktop as a Service offering.
  • Implementing a mobile device management service for tablets and smartphones, especially on devices personally owned by staff members. This program would allow SwiftTech Solutions to monitor, secure, and maintain mobile devices regularly.
  • Watching out for employees using cloud services for their work processes without the IT admin’s and/or SwiftTech’s knowledge, especially if the services are on a pay-as-you-go model. For example, if the marketing department is considering hosting a WordPress website on Amazon Web Services, they should consult with a developer and the designated IT admin before experimenting.
  • Using a suite of monitored and secure enterprise software programs instead of consumer-grade versions. For example, if employees are using Dropbox for file sharing, have them use Egnyte or Citrix ShareFile instead.
  • Using unique and complex passwords for each SaaS account. Do not reuse passwords on different accounts.
  • Enabling remote wipe of devices to protect against possible loss or theft.
  • Password-protecting company computers, laptops, and mobile devices. Also, have the device lock after a period of inactivity.
  • Reviewing third-party SaaS agreements to ensure the sharing of your information is limited.
  • Wiping devices and detachable storage media (CDs, hard drives, thumb drives, etc.) before disposing of them.

If you need help with controlling your organization’s data sprawl, you can contact us at 877-794-3811 or Also, if you are unsure if your data is safe on your devices and in the cloud, you can ask us about our security packages.