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September 2010

Should enterprises give in to IT consumerization at the expense of security?

Point: Marcus Ranum Some companies are apparently adopting a policy of allowing employees to do their computing work on personal devices -- a trend that, I suspect, is a result of mainstream IT departments not being quite sure how to accommodate their growing user-base of Apple Computer addicts. Our industry appears to be of two minds about this topic: on one hand, we're worried about data leakage; and on the other, we take steps to make said leakage as easy as possible. I was on a conference call last week, in which a senior technical executive asked me if I had any suggestions for what kind of data leakage system could be put between their Exchange server and their BlackBerry users to detect and block attempts to export sensitive data. As our conversation continued, he said, "Of course, these are corporate-issued BlackBerries. So at least we can do remote-wipe in case of loss." I was struck dumb for a second, trying to sort through the inherent contradiction in simultaneously giving employees a tool for exporting data from the...

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