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Beware of the iCloud

Beware of the iCloud

iCloud raises serious questions: what does Apple plan to do to deliver a secure experience? What do businesses need to do to protect sensitive corporate data

Third-party solutions

However, there is help for companies that have user-owned devices in the enterprise. A number of vendors offer tools that can help isolate company information on these devices, remote wipe just the company data when employees leave, and ensure that the information stays safe and secure.

For example, Morphlabs itself is an all-Mac company where iOS devices are common. "Part of our policy for data retention and security is to require people never to synch up their data to iDisk or iCloud or DropBox," Damarillo says. "They can only synch up via Box.net, which I can manage centrally. ICloud is great, and we say, put all your non-enterprise personal content on the iCloud, but if you use documents that belong to the enteprise for work purposes, it goes through Box.net."

Damarillo himself uses both. His personal e-books are synched to the iCloud, and everything he uses for work goes on Box.net. "I wouldn't advise any company to use iCloud for enterprise content," he says. "It's not designed for that. There's no controls for it."

Meanwhile, Box.net is getting ready to improve security further. "ICloud doesn't have access to the data stored in our Box app on iOS," says Box.net co-founder and CEO Aaron Levie. "We will also be working with mobile device management vendors to ensure security policies are consistent between the enterprise and the Box app, as well as offering services in the Box Enterprise edition to ensure end to end management of content on any mobile device."

Dayvia Nelson, marketing manager at Cloudworks, a provider of virtual desktop software, is an iCloud fan. "I started out as a Mobile.Me customer, and it had become a little difficult to constantly sync information from the iPhone to the laptop," she says. "And with the iPad, it's even more cumbersome having to plug it in and having it sync. Now it happens automatically, and pushes automatically to the other devices."

But when it comes to business apps, Nelson uses her own company's tools to access corporate documents via a virtual desktop. She can use QuickBooks, Microsoft Office, PowerPoint, and Excel, and the data is kept in the Cloudworks cloud, logically segregated from other companies' data. Cloudworks has enterprise-grade security - including SAS 70, PCI and Sarbanes-Oxley compliance. One customer uses it for medical documents that require HIPAA compliance, she adds, and the data center has gone through that audit process as well.

Corporate data or documents are never stored on the mobile device, she says. "All the information is stored in our environment. If a person is terminated, they disable the account."

As a result, when her iPhone or iPad is backed up to the iCloud, only personal files are touched.

Other vendors that provide security and management for iOS devices include MobileIron, RhoLogic, Good Technology and BoxTone.


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