IBM Ban Employee use of Dropbox & iCloud

News Article - Monday, 28 May 2012 11:57

By: Kerry Butters Category: Hosting

IBM has banned the use of Dropbox and iCloud by its employees after it found that the BYOD scheme isn't saving the company any cash due to employee use of insecure apps. This has led to "new challenges” faced by IBM's 5000 strong IT department, as they have no control over the software that workers install on their own devices, according to chief information officer Jeanette Horan.

IBM currently provides 40,000 of its employees with Blackberry devices and around 80,000 of their 400,000 workforce use their own handsets or tablets. According to Horan, a recent survey carried out by IBM on hundreds of their workers showed that many were unaware of the security risks posed by certain apps.

"We found a tremendous lack of awareness as to what constitutes a risk," Horan said. Now, the company's IT department are "trying to make people aware."

This push to educate workers has led to the establishment of guidelines regarding the use of mobile devices and which apps employees can use. Dropbox and iCloud appear on the list of banned software as it's thought that "such software could allow confidential information to get loose.”

The surveyed employees were also found to be carrying out practices such as forwarding work email to web-based mail servers and using devices to create open Wi-Fi hotspots, both of which create security headaches for IBM.

Further measures to combat the problem have been implemented by Horan's IT department, including configuring BYOD mobiles and tablets so that the device memory can be erased remotely if a phone is lost or stolen and turning off Siri, iPhone's voice recognition software.

Whilst the Blackberry is considered relatively secure, Horan says that the company face further complexities surrounding security due to the more open nature of other devices. Every BYOD will be treated individually in the future, depending on the make and model of the phone and the nature of the worker's job.

For those employees who access internal IBM apps and files, further software will now be installed on devices which carry out functions such as encryption.

The trend of introducing BYOD schemes has led to a boom in the mobile management software market. Around half of all large companies currently allow such schemes and this figure is only set to rise as the smartphone revolution continues.

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