Protecting Company Information Isn’t Easy

3 Apr

Information is more readily available and accessible now than it has ever been before. The widespread use of smartphones and tablet computers has transformed the world of business into one where work can be done anywhere. As businesspeople continue to mobilize and spend more time out of the office, one advanced device stores personal information and business secrets. This compilation of information poses a threat to the security of company data and has the IT departments at companies in a predicament.

When a smartphone or tablet computer is lost or stolen, the easy solution is to remotely remove all data from the device. However, with wide scale integration of business matters and personal pictures and videos on a single device, wiping clean a stolen iPhone, iPad, or Blackberry is no longer a simple matter.

To combat this threat, companies have begun requiring employees to sign contracts acknowledging that the company has the right to wipe any smartphone or tablet that may contain sensitive company data. Employees quickly sign this contract but most employees do not consider the possibility of losing personal photos if their phone is wiped.

On the bright side, technology introduced by MobileIron, a software company out of Mountain View, California, allows IT management to remove company email accounts and applications without touching personal information. This program allows IT departments to quickly and ethically remove all company data from an employee that was either let go or fired without violating the employee’s personal privacy.

While the ability to protect sensitive company information is vital, who protects the company from the IT department? Companies currently monitor and perform more thorough background checks on IT technicians than any other position for good reason. Sheep’s Clothing, a global survey of executives worried about economic crimes, found that 56% of respondents who had been victims of economic crimes said that the main perpetrator was someone within the company.

With nearly full access to company information, IT employees are closely monitored for unusual activity and are scrutinized for their attitudes and wording in emails. Companies employ a series of checks and balances, much like what is employed by our branches of government, to ensure that one person does not hold too much power.

As technology evolves and information is converged onto one device, data security is a looming concern for all companies. IT departments struggle to control employees careless use of mobile computing devices, but a company is never completely safe as the protectors may be the perpetrators.

by Eric McLean

Sources:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204603004577271670419776332.html?mod=WSJ_mgmt_MiddleSecondHighlights

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203753704577255723326557672.html?mod=WSJ_mgmt_MiddleSecondHighlights

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One Response to “Protecting Company Information Isn’t Easy”

  1. Bryan Duva April 9, 2012 at 3:30 pm #

    A lot of companies also simply have their employees use separate devices for personal matters and business matters. This is an effective mechanism for protecting sensitive information about the company and preserving the personal information of the employee. It also has the added benefit for the employee of restricting the employer’s access to their private lives.

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