Michael Finneran
Michael F. Finneran, is President of dBrn Associates, Inc., a full service advisory firm specializing in wireless and mobility; services...
Read Full Bio >>

Michael Finneran | March 25, 2014 |


The Legal Side of BYOD

The Legal Side of BYOD Enterprise Connect Orlando 2014 examined what a BYOD policy should include, and what the pitfalls are in rolling it out.

Enterprise Connect Orlando 2014 examined what a BYOD policy should include, and what the pitfalls are in rolling it out.

Enterprise Connect Orlando 2014 has just wrapped up, and once again the topic of bring your own device (BYOD) programs was high on the agenda. We were lucky enough to have MDM vendor AirWatch (now a VMWare company) and Samsung Telecommunications as sponsors. Samsung is touting its KNOX mobile security program that provides a secure boot function as well as a secure container on its Android devices. AirWatch is one of the MDM vendors that supports KNOX, so I got to hear both sides on that.

One of the more interesting sessions in which I participated was "Assessing the Legal Issues Around BYOD," which was moderated by telecom attorney Martha Buyer, and also featured Jim Brashear, General Counsel for secure email provider Zix Corporation. Besides his work at Zix, Mr. Brashear is Co-Chair for two subcommittees of the Association of Corporate Counsel in areas relating to security, privacy, and cloud/SaaS.

The idea behind this session was to look at what type of legal exposure organizations might be creating by moving to BYOD, and what would be the most effective provisions to include in a mobility policy to lessen that exposure. According to Mr. Brashear, there are a lot of risks and potential liabilities, including:

* Lost or stolen devices: This concern topped the list of security concerns in the InformationWeek 2013 State of Mobile Security survey. Losing an unsecured and unencrypted smartphone or tablet chock full of sensitive corporate data is the kind of scenario that will keep a CSO up at night. Of course, that concern exists primarily because the data resides on that mobile device. Zix sells a VDI-like email, calendar and contacts solution in which all of the information is stored in the cloud and never on the device itself.

* Mis-Wipe: If the organization is using an MDM solution, it is usually possible to erase just the corporate data if the device is lost or the user leaves the company; however, wiping the device using the basic capabilities of Exchange ActiveSync or IBM's Notes Traveler results in a total wipe. Even if there is an MDM system in place, mistakes happen, so users should be made aware of the possibility and reminded to back up their mobile devices on a regular basis.

* Surrender for eDiscovery Proceedings: It is important that the policy spell out clearly that employees will have to surrender their devices if required for an eDiscovery proceeding. Some enterprises also require the device be surrendered for periodic security audits. Some organizations have provisions in place where they will buy the user a replacement device to use until their own is returned.

* Injuries By Driving: If a mobile user is on a business call and injures someone in an automobile accident, the company will be sued for damages along with the employee--that's where the "deepest pockets" will be found. Martha Buyer has written about this issue, and while all of us on the panel leaned toward advocating an outright ban, I've yet to see any company go that far. About the best we can do in the mobility policy is include guidance regarding the safest ways to avoid all distractions while driving, point out which situations are most potentially hazardous, and suggest techniques for avoiding them.

Mr. Brashear also pointed out some of the subtleties to be addressed in managing the legal side of BYOD. One big pushback we are seeing from users is the concern that if companies require an MDM client on the phone, IT will be able to view the user's personal information. In fact, IT will at most be able to see a list of the applications that are installed, and will not be able to open those applications or see the data stored in them. However, good communications are key to addressing this and other compliance requirements.

One very important point Mr. Brashear made is that if there are penalty provisions in the policy, it is very important that they be enforced. If you do wind up going to court, advertising a penalty but failing to enforce it works against you, in that it implies that the company is not really serious about the policy in the first place. There are also differences in the expectation of privacy depending on whether the device is company-provided or personally owned.

All of this points out the need to have input and buy-in on the policy from Security, HR, Legal, Labor Relations, and the line-of-business managers. Finally it is important to recognize the limitations of the technology. Remote wipe doesn't work 100% (e.g. if the device is switched to "Airplane Mode"), and users might not use a secure container religiously for company information.

Probably the most important guidance Mr. Brashear imparted was that this is still a developing area of the law. That means there are few precedents, so it may be some years before the legal foundation for all the potential issues is fleshed out. In the meantime, we will keep following it at Enterprise Connect.

Follow Michael Finneran on Twitter and Google+!
Michael Finneran on Google+


March 7, 2018

Video collaboration is experiencing significant change and innovation-how can your enterprise take advantage? In this webinar, leading industry analyst Ira Weinstein will present detailed analysis

February 21, 2018

Business agility has become the strongest driver for enterprises to begin migrating their communications to the cloud-and its a benefit that enterprises are already realizing. To gain this benefit

February 7, 2018

Enterprises are starting to grasp the critical importance of security and compliance in their team collaboration deployments. And once the risks are mitigated, your enterprise can integrate these n

March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.