For years, many healthcare organizations have opted to purchase
mobile devices for their employees. But due to the rapid changes in
the mobile market and the negative feedback from employees, many
healthcare organizations have decided to permit their employees to
use their own mobile devices for work purposes. However, is this
policy appropriate for your organization?
IBM recently announced that due to privacy and security
concerns, it had banned the use by its employees of Siri, the
personal assistant that comes standard on the iPhone 4S. These
concerns arise because of the way the Siri software processes
requests – it sends them back to Apple. That is, when
people speak a command into Siri or ask Siri a question, according
to the Licensing Agreement, "the things you say will be
recorded and sent to Apple in order to convert what you say into
text and . . . to also process your requests." Similarly, IBM
has banned Apple's Dictation tool because it can be used to
take dictation for text messages and emails. For organizations that
have protected health information or other sensitive information
(e.g., trade secrets), this process may create problems.
Many organizations adopted Bring Your Own Device policies in an
effort to minimize costs and to increase employee efficiency.
However, employers must be careful to ensure that the devices used
by employees do not contain apps that lead to increased security
As such, employers who have adopted Bring Your Own Device
policies should take the opportunity to audit the devices for
compliance with their policies. Additionally, each device should
include technology that permits it to be wiped remotely if it is
lost and employees should sign an acknowledgment that their device
will be wiped if lost. While employees do like using their own
devices, a BYOD approach will likely not be appropriate for all
healthcare organizations. Organizations that continue down this
path should consider refinement of their Bring Your Own Device
policies to be more in the nature of "Bring Your Own
Pre-Approved Device if You Use it on Our Terms."
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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