But for official purposes related to work, Blackstone is mandating that these BYOD iOS devices must run specific corporate-controlled software intended for device security and management. Specifically, this is the MobileIron mobile-management device software and WatchDocs, which facilitates how any electronic document can be distributed.
That means if certain controls are on the document, it couldn't be opened even if it were forwarded, Murphy explains. Blackstone has used WatchDocs for other purposes than just BYOD, but "the mobile revolution is making it more important," he says. The weakest link in security tends to be unwanted actions and behavior by individuals, he notes, and WatchDocs helps prevent mistakes related to BYOD devices.
Having MobileIron on BYOD devices means that the company has the right to wipe the device if it's lost, says Murphy. "The corporate email is on there so we say, sorry, we'll wipe it. They accept that." Employees are encouraged to back up their BYOD devices regularly.
Jeffrey Hunter, vice president at consultancy Booz Allen Hamilton, says it's not unusual for any enterprise to initially fear the BYOD phenomenon because it appears to "break all the rules" associated with traditional IT management. But BYOD can increase employee productivity since traditional IT typically only has a one-size-fits-all strategy, he says, adding Booz Allen also supports BYOD for its employees.
It makes sense for institutions to "avoid total chaos" by defining specific devices and form factors they will allow for BYOD, Hunter says. But he advises caution on the question of deleting the user's personal data from BYOD devices, noting the time has come to find creative approaches toward "data sovereignty" adopted in BYOD to be able to delete business data but not delete the personal data.
Ellen Messmer is senior editor at Network World, an IDG publication and website, where she covers news and technology trends related to information security. Twitter: @MessmerE. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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