After reading Chris Nerney’s blog post about what happens when a retired BYOD device is sold, the whole issue of data mobility began swimming around in my head. This isn’t a new problem, and certainly isn’t a BYOD-only one. Stories of data that escaped into the wild as the result of a device – whether company-owned or not – being left in a car, café or fast-food joint are legendary, and you’ve probably received a new credit card from at least one issuer because your own data might have been compromised. I have, and more than once I’m sad to say.
So, as my favorite definition of “insanity” is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results each time, I now have to ask why we think business data belongs on BYOD devices in the first place. IT goes to such great lengths to ensure we’re not emailing sensitive data, spends a good amount of money and energy on data loss prevention, but when it comes to apps and data on mobile devices sanity and logic seem to exit stage left to be replaced by risky behaviors.
With the abundance of solutions for client virtualization and the webification of front ends for just about every major app, I fail to see the argument for storage of enterprise data on BYOD devices, no matter how well those devices are secured.
Since WiFi or 3G/4G connectivity is available pretty much everywhere, I no longer see the need for offline storage of enterprise data or documents on smartphones. I could perhaps see someone wanting to create data on a tablet device, but even then I’d rather see the created documents stored somewhere other than the iPad that created it, just for security’s sake.
Am I missing something here? Is there an unmet need that is only served by storing sensitive information in somebody’s phone? Let me know what you think.