IBM Faces the Perils of “Bring Your Own Device”

As reported in Brain Bergstein’s article, Jeanette Horan, IBM’s CIO, recently faced the challenges and risks of a BYOD policy at her company. Once IBM decided to let their employees use tablets and mobile phones for work, they soon realized just how many insecure apps would find a way into the office. According to Horan, BYOD isn’t saving IBM any money, and her IT staff had, at first, lost control over what applications and programs are installed or avoided. Horan and her team decided to establish guidelines for IBMers about what applications they should and should not use, secured wireless networks, and generally tried to make people more aware of the risks, and being more aware of them herself: Horan isn't only trying to educate IBM workers about computer security. She's also enforcing better security. Before an employee's own device can be used to access IBM networks, the IT department configures it so that its memory can be erased remotely if it is lost or stolen. The IT crew also disables public file-transfer programs like Apple's iCloud; instead, employees use an IBM-hosted version called MyMobileHub. IBM even turns off Siri, the voice-activated personal assistant, on employees' iPhones. The company worries that the spoken queries, which are uploaded to Apple servers, could ultimately reveal sensitive information. The challenges faced by IBM aren’t an anomaly – more and more companies are encountering the exact same issues as employees begin to bring personal devices into the corporate world.

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