Why mobile is different for you

You are an employee, but when you joined the company, you probably got your email on your iPhone. It's a productivity tool, right?
But did you look at the little box that appeared when you connected? Did you check what the email system can do?
With most corporate email systems (Exchange and Gmail), the administrator now has the power to remotely wipe your device. You've given away your photos from your last vacation, your Candy Crush scores, and your contact list to the IT admin, in exchange for the ability to do more work for your employer.
In fact, as the WSJ reported, one company alone is doing almost 500 wipes a day.
Earlier this year, they even reported cases when phones were wiped with very personal data.

One button wipe

In fact, it's easy, it's only one button away for an admin:

For the company, it's easy to see why they would do it:

  • deleting the corporate email account from the phone
  • removing other corporate details like VPN or wifi accounts
  • erasing contacts that you might have copied out to the address book
  • wipe apps like box or dropbox that might have copied corporate documents locally
Is it abusive? Creating a massive hassle? Making changing jobs even more stressful?
Yes, to all 3. 

But it's also legal - even if you are the one who bought the phone and paid the bill, because it's on page 37 of your 83 page employment contract, and part of the box you clicked yes to, as you were told to in the IT instructions to connect your corporate email.

But don't you have a right to protect your assets too?

But shouldn't there be some middle ground? An alternative to wiping the phone? 
MDM - Mobile device management has a few steps in the right direction - and in iOS 8 there are even more features meaning employers could only wipe apps they installed, and only accounts they added.
But would that get the documents? The contacts? The apps you'd installed but used for work?
Would a CISO (the Chief Information Security Office) go for some small tactical operations to tidy, rather than one big act that would be sure to wipe everything?

Reality is a grey area

But here, it gets even messier. You are probably using iCloud to backup all the data from your phone. That's already copying the data to another place, corporate or not. In fact, as 9TO5Mac say, you should just remove your email account before you leave, because is most cases the Exchange server is the only way to wipe a device given most employee owned devices won't be enrolled in MDM.

And data flows both ways - what about that contact that you brought in that the company sold to? If they are deleting their data, that should stay with you, right? Or the buyer that wasn't going to buy from your previous company, but might now?

The data goes both ways

It's like the company gave you some yellow paint, and you brought some blue, and you mixed them up. You both liked the green paint for a while, but then the company wants their paint back. Right now, rather than trying to take some back, because they are mixed, they just want all the paint.
So today, even though information and data is being mixed, companies want all the data

The last word

If you are a company, you should:

  • check out the MDM solutions leveraging the latest OS improvements
  • don't alienate employees because of policy
  • don't compromise on productivity
If you are an employee:

  • be careful what you're getting into
  • backup often to icloud
  • use separate apps for your data
  • use a separate device if you have to
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