Get people, privacy and policy correct before allowing collaborative working via mobiles

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Managing control and compliance of mobile is key to collaborative working.

Stephen Deadman, group privacy officer and head of legal for privacy, security and content standards at Vodafone, said that mobility is driving collaboration, as businesses can allow users to do more than on a PC but the role of IT should be to manage control and meet compliance challenges.

Speaking at the Field Fisher Waterhouse security forum, Deadman said that there are stories of inadequate management and data loss issues when it comes to mobile use and bring your own device (BYOD).

“We see the supply chain, where organisations are secure, where things are done and where there is a controller of the data so the responsibility of the organisation is clear, but in my experience there is no responsibility,” he said.

Looking at privacy, people and policy, Deadman said that privacy needs to determine who accesses what and which services, and this can be very difficult to integrate, especially if a personal device is being used.

He said: “Mobile is blurring the lines between personal and professional lives and the borders between them have changed to make things more difficult to manage. It can be good for the work/life balance but you need to be careful with carving space from employees.

“The perimeter has fizzled away and to work collaboratively and to enable tools, you have to work with the privacy guys and staff, as they are choosing the tools that they want to use. So this is more about risk and my view is that it is about who adapts to that the best and about which risks you can control with the tools, what you can and cannot accept and what you have to deal with.”

He said that there is a proliferation of solutions to allow mobile devices to share and access data, and the challenge is knowing when and what to invest in solutions.

For policy, Deadman encouraged companies to "get smart on policy" and not to put their heads in the sand, as that is not dealing with the problem. Finally for people, he said that before you give users a desktop, engage with the user and if they want to choose a device, they have to work collaboratively with the company.

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