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Do your employees trust you with mobile data

Although Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is becoming a standard business practice, there is a big disconnect between employees and employers when it comes to what is private and what is not on a mobile device, according to MobileIron research.

The survey, conducted in the US, UK, and Germany, examines the privacy expectations people have when using a mobile device for work. Remarkably, 84 per cent of respondents own the smartphone they use for work purposes, as do 82 per cent of tablet users. 

When asked: ?What information on your mobile device do you think your employer can see nearly half the respondents were sure their employer could not see anything, while 15 per cent were not sure. Only 28 per cent think their company can see their work email and attachments, and 22 per cent believe their company can only see their work contacts.

Overall, respondents were most concerned with their employer seeing personal communications, such as email and text messages. Surprisingly, less than half flagged location as a concern.

The reality is that if these devices are used to get corporate email, employers can see work email and attachments on a mobile device as easily as they can on a PC. That’s a gulf between expectations and reality.

The facts: what the employer can actually see

  • Carrier and country;
  • Make, model, OS version;
  • Device identifier, such as IMEI;
  • Phone number;
  • Complete list of apps installed;
  • Location of device;
  • Battery level;
  • Storage capacity and use;
  • Corporate email and attachments (via Exchange server same as PC); and
  • Corporate contacts.

 The facts: what the employer cannot see

  • Information in apps unless the app has been built to transmit information to a corporate server;
  • Personal email and attachments;
  • Texts;
  • Photos;
  • Videos;
  • Web browsing activity; and
  • Voicemails.

What employers can do to increase employee trust

When asked what the single most important thing is an employer could do to increase employee trust, they cited clear communication. Employers should explain, in detail, the purpose of seeing certain information on the device, and how they separate the personal content from work content. Put it down in writing! That’s what your employees really want!


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