DRM for Company Data


People love their mobile devices. We buy fancy cases for them and spend quite some time customizing them. But many companies don't allow their employees to bring their own devices. This causes quite some frustration to employees who are thus forced to carry around two devices, to learn particularities of two operating systems, and to keep things synchronized between two devices. One of the main arguments why companies insist on this practice is ownership of company information. Today, when an employee gets sacked the absolutely first thing the company does is to take away employee's notebook and mobile phone. But if the notebook or the mobile phone would be owned by the employee himself, companies could not confiscate it and all the precious data on the device could be immediately taken to the competition (or so the companies fear).

As I've learned at QCon this year, there exists several solutions to the problem of revoking access to company data on bring your own devices (BYOD). The one that came as biggest surprise to me is to use digital rights management (DRM) technology that is present in all modern mobile devices on the insistence of entertainment industry to protect also company data. The legal framework is also already in place since everything that employees do during their work is copyrighted by their employer. So all that needs to be done is to integrate Apple's or Android's DRM system with the enterprise document management systems and the companies will be able to revoke rights to access company documents on personal devices of their employees whenever they please, just like Amazon was able to delete Orwell's 1984 from users' Kindles a few years ago,

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