No Siri, Dropbox or iCloud for IBM employees

Macworld Australia Staff
24 May, 2012
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IBM has banned Siri, Dropbox and iCloud from employees’ iPhones because of data security fears.

The global tech giant introduced a ‘bring your own device’ policy in 2010, which allows 80,000 of IBM’s 400,000 employees to access company networks from their own smartphones or devices. But CIO Jeanette Horan now says IBM is concerned that sensitive information may be recorded beyond IBM’s servers.

In an interview with MIT Technology News, Horan said “We’re just extraordinarily conservative. It’s the nature of our business.”

According to the report, “Horan’s team has established guidelines about which apps IBM employees can use and which they should avoid.

“On the list of banned apps are public file-transfer services such as Dropbox; Horan says IBM fears that using such software could allow sensitive information to get loose.

“In the survey, other employees were found to be violating protocol by automatically forwarding their IBM email to public web mail services or using their smart phones to create open Wi-Fi hotspots, which make data vulnerable to snoops.”

CultofMac believes Horan’s Siri fears are based on “the fact that Siri is a cloud-based and crowd-sourced solution. The iPhone 4S sends voice data to Apple for speech recognition and interpretation.

“Siri also requires access to personal information on an iPhone 4S – like contacts – and the relationships between an iPhone 4S user and his or her contacts. Siri also gets access to your location data. That’s a lot of information being sent to Apple’s servers – servers that IBM has no control over.”

The feeling is that simple tasks such as setting meetings, sending emails or messages, adding contacts and setting reminders could pose potential risks to IBM’s business ventures if they were recorded in the wrong location.

IBM’s IT department of 5000 people has to deal with each of the devices independently.

“Each employee’s device is treated differently, depending on what model it is and what the person’s job responsibilities are,” the MIT report said. “Some people are only permitted to receive IBM email, calendars, and contacts on their portable devices, while others can access internal IBM applications and files.”



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