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User Privacy & BYOD: Why MDM Doesn’t Cut It

by anonymous

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In Tom Kaneshige’s article in CIO Magazine,BYOD Lawsuits Loom as Work Gets Personal,he discusses the legal implications of deploying Mobile Device Management (MDM) software to your employees’ personal devices.Tom writes that, “like most tragic love stories, the Bring Your Own Device affair has come to an abrupt end; a bitter breakup looms, and lawyers are circling”. Tom explains that employees are beginning to question the intrusion of corporate eyes on their personal devices and poses some intriguing questions on behalf of users everywhere:

  • Does IT use my smartphone to track my whereabouts?

  • Are they then using the device to track how many hours I am at the office?

  • What other data are employers collecting?

  • Can a help desk technician see my private healthcare records?

Mistrust and suspicion have killed many a relationship. As implausible as some of these scenarios seem, they are not so implausible when you consider the innocent ways they may occur. A calendar app, for example, can track your whereabouts to determine which is the closest available conference room.

A more important issue for many is fear of the “dreaded remote wipe”, as CIO calls it. Some employees refuse to participate in BYOD programs because of remote wipe fears. Others would “wait days or weeks before reporting a lost or stolen device so that IT wouldn’t wipe it”. Oh dear, can this marriage be saved?

In the UK a Kaspersky study found that “more than three quarters (77 percent) of UK employees would omit from telling their IT department about the theft or loss of a company owned device within an hour of its loss … These results show that if a corporate notebook, tablet or smartphone gets stolen, thieves may have several hours to access the data on it before the IT department is able to take preventative measures.”

MDM software attempts to patch some but not all of these concerns. There are efforts being made, for example, to partition personal and corporate data and applications on a device. But this doesn’t always work, particularly for applications such as Evernote or e-mail that can be used for both personal and business reasons. Other solutions turn off remote wipe for fear of lawsuits. It’s like sleeping in separate bedrooms – it’s never gonna last.

Beyond the legal issues, what happens when an employee leaves a company? This is a routine occurrence at all companies. What about consultants, contractors and interns? How do you provision their devices for remote access, then ensure this access is turned off and the device is clean of all corporate data?

Call Divorce Court! CIO Magazine concludes that with MDM solutions there is a looming liability cloud. Companies will need to add protections against employee lawsuits.

Armor5 took a look at this sad marriage and decided that MDM just doesn’t work. The market needed a better solution. This is why we founded Armor5. We allow enterprises to completely side step the heavy footprint of MDM software on user privacy protection. That horrible MDM never appreciated you anyway…

It doesn’t matter whether your content is already exposed via a web interface to your intranet or in a SaaS provider’s application, whether your data is stored on a Sharepoint server or some other network device. Legal liability concerns are a thing of the past when employees enjoy virtualized access to corporate data using the browser they already have installed on their favorite device. Armor5 virtualizes all of their favorite stuff and assures IT that sensitive information never gets downloaded to whatever device they choose.

B’bye “dreaded remote wipe”! We’ve grown fond of calling what we do “Zero Touch BYOD” — zero client software, zero device maintenance, zero stored on the device. Yes, you can fall in love again.

For more information about BYOD management visit our website

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