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Mobile Unified Communications - How Secure is Your BYOD Strategy?

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June 19, 2012

Mobile Unified Communications - How Secure is Your BYOD Strategy?

By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Privacy and security are both important elements in the public eye as consumers on the whole prefer for their information to be protected. The Federal Communications Commission is curious as to how mobile wireless carriers are handling the privacy and security of information stored on mobile unified communications devices used by customers.

According to this Courthouse News report, the FCC (News - Alert) has not made such a move since 2007. At that time, the agency was concerned with the carriers’ duty to erase customer information on refurbished devices before they were sold to another customer, a common practice in mobile unified communications strategies.

Today, changes in technology enable carriers and others to preinstall software to collect information regarding the performance of the device and the performance of the network. The FCC claims that while carriers could argue in 2007 that those controlling the information residing on the device were clearly consumers, the same argument cannot be made today.

The FCC wants to know specifically if privacy and data security should be of greater consideration in the design of the mobile device software. If the answer is yes, what steps should then be taken to encourage this privacy by design?

The Communications Act, Section 222, must enforce the carriers’ obligations to protect the confidentiality of proprietary information about and relating to customers. The public is invited to share comments on this mobile unified communications element until July 13.

Given the proliferation of the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) trend in the workplace today, privacy and security are both critical elements to consider. This recent TechZone 360 article highlighted the stats regarding the phenomenon, including the fact that 81 percent of U.S. adults, according to a recent Eset study, use at least one personal electronic device for functions related to work.

Of those 81 percent, however, 66 percent say their organization has not yet implemented a BYOD policy, which could be putting those companies at risk. This suggests the time is right for companies to take the necessary steps to understand the benefits and concerns necessary to readily embrace BYOD.

AT&T (News - Alert) has its own ideas for embracing the BYOD concept. The company, featured in this Computer World report, has created the AT&T Toggle service. This new functionality enables the creation of a work-only sector of the Android smartphone. The service is now also expanding to the Apple (News - Alert) iOS, allowing workers to put their data related to work on a separate account.

This feature was introduced last year and provides organizations the opportunity to use it on phones originally purchased from any other carrier. Toggle takes the software on the phone and divides it into two environments, allowing business resources to be encrypted and safe from the disruption of other others, a much needed mobile unified communications tool. 

Want to learn more about today’s powerful mobile Internet ecosystem? Then be sure to attend the Mobility Tech Conference & Expo, collocated with ITEXPO West 2012 taking place Oct. 2-5 2012, in Austin, TX. Co-sponsored by TMC (News - Alert) Partner Crossfire Media the Mobility Tech Conference & Expo provides unmatched networking opportunities and a robust conference program representing the mobile ecosystem. The conference not only brings together the best and brightest in the wireless industry, it actually spans the communications and technology industry. For more information on registering for the Mobility Tech Conference & Expo click here.

Stay in touch with everything happening at Mobility Tech Conference & Expo. Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

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