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IBM Bans Siri, iCloud, Dropbox

IBM’s approved smartphone is a BlackBerry because of its security

IBM's approved smartphone is a BlackBerry because of its security.

The company tolerates 80,000 staffers using their "bring your own" phones and tablets on its internal networks. But before they can, according to what CIO Jeanette Horan told MIT's Technology Review the other day, IBM's IT department configures any dingus "so that its memory can be erased remotely if it is lost or stolen. The IT crew also disables public file-transfer programs like Apple's iCloud; instead, employees use an IBM-hosted version called MyMobileHub. IBM even turns off Siri, the voice-activated personal assistant, on employees' iPhones. The company worries that the spoken queries might be stored somewhere."

Also on the banned list are other cloud storage systems like Dropbox for fear sensitive information might get loose.

IBMers aren't supposed to automatically forward their IBM e-mail to public web mail services or use their smartphones to create open Wi-Fi hotspots. Their devices are made to encrypt information as it travels to and from IBM's corporate networks and the "IT department can match an employee with one of about 12 different ‘personas' that dictate what he or she is allowed to do on a mobile device."

Horan says, "We're just extraordinarily conservative. It's the nature of our business."

See www.technologyreview.com/business/40324/.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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