The iPhone – a risk to corporate data?

Ralf DeFrangesco is just one of the many commentators who have begun to voice concerns about the security of the iPhone. As many businesses know, the more popular a device or platform the more serious the security risk. In excess of 50 million devices are now able to download one or more of the 85000 applications available in the App store. Apple’s software itself is rife with vulnerabilities and bugs. Only last month Apple released 10 iPhone software patches to plug holes in security.

It is the user friendliness of the iPhone that is both its saving grace and its fatal flaw. It is incredibly easy to download applications for the iPhone and DeFrangesco points out in an article for IT Business Edge that this very accessibility heightens the security risks. The iPhone is capable of organising and more importantly storing data relating to virtually every aspect of a user’s life. This can include personal information, or in the worst case scenario sensitive business data such as client lists, work emails and IP data. The implications of data loss from an iPhone are not, thus, restricted to its user. The integrity of an entire computing system can be compromised by anyone able to hack an iPhone via an App or otherwise.

For company-owned devices DeFrangesco suggests a scalable list of acceptable apps which users can download without risk. He also suggests that where employees have their own iPhone, voluntary adherence to such a list should be introduced in a way that does not feel restrictive or invasive.

Whether iPhones are company or individual owned it is essential to regulate their use and to prevent their exploitation by using Data Loss Prevention software. DLP software will aid in shielding iPhone users against access to certain types of information and monitoring the way in which iPhones are used within a business network. Many aspects of the iPhone should be embraced rather than vilified. Regulation and testing of applications for the iPhone is therefore becoming an essential consideration and there are wide ranging benefits to so doing within any progressive business.

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