This is the Biggest Privacy Battle in Decades


Thought Leadership

This is the Biggest Privacy Battle in Decades

Zix Staff

And it’s happening all thanks to an outdated mobile device policy.

Smartphones aren’t simply just another technological convenience; containing vast amounts of data, they provide an intimate look into our personal lives  and likely hold plenty of information related to our jobs and employers.

As mobile devices have flooded the workplace, employees have become better equipped to perform work functions away from their desktop computers. And if you work in IT, these devices often represent a headache.

It’s the responsibility of the IT department (as well as management) to set a mobile device policy that will define how employees will safely use mobile devices for work. Unfortunately, creating a mobile device policy can be tricky — there are no one-size fits all solutions.

While there are multiple options (and we certainly have plenty of thoughts on the proper way to do this), not implementing and enforcing a policy is the worst option, as San Bernardino County demonstrates in a very public manner.

Reuters reports that San Bernardino County requires, some, but not all, of its workers to install mobile device management (MDM) software on government-issued phones. In what seems to be an absolute worst-case scenario, this MDM software was not installed on the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone, because his department was not required to use it.

The bigger issue at hand is that San Bernardino County was relying on a mobile device policy that was written in 2004 (before the advent of smartphones, mind you). If the phone in question did have the proper software installed on the phone, the high stakes legal battle that has pitted Apple (and much of the technology industry) against the U.S. government could have been avoided altogether.

With that in mind, the County of San Bernardino’s failure to properly manage its corporate-owned devices through widely available solutions is why this current predicament is the subject of so much debate.

Regardless of what mobile device policy your organization chooses, at the very least make sure it’s up to date and enforced across the entire organization.