Education, Not Elimination
By Eric Lin, Fri Mar 05 23:30:00 GMT 2004

If your company is concerned about information security, you need to worry about cameraphones. But banning them outright isn't the answer, says Gartner.


Although the Gartner Group issued a warning advising corporations to be wary of cameraphones in secure situations, they also warned against over-reacting and banning the phones from the work place. According to the report, 80% of phones sold in the US and Europe will be cameraphones by 2006. It's not realistic for a company to try and ban such a ubiquitous device. Gartner's report also points out that the dangers of unintended leaks don't just come from cameraphones. USB keychain drives, DVD-Rs, and, may we add, the ever popular iPod present equal dangers.

In a show of unmatched reason, at least by cameraphone policy standards, Gartner suggests that banning the phones as well as other risky devices, would require an extraordinary amount of resources. Instead companies need to create policies of acceptable cameraphone use, along with defining appropriate use of other devices like flash memory and voice recorders. While no policy or even ban will prevent people from taking data, it does set a standard for what can be done, as well as set up terms under which to punish violations.

A good cameraphone policy should not just be a recommendation from some analysts. In Mobilizing the Enterprise, Steve mentions that it's critical for operators and service integrators to provide companies with examples or case studies of how new mobile technologies will benefit an organization. The cameraphone could undoubtedly help a number of corporations- insurance agents documenting claims in the field, sales reps taking pictures of bar codes for inventory, designers sharing an idea with a client- and that's just off the top of my head.

As we said in Mobilizing the Enterprise and we noted in yesterday's IDC study, executives and IT professionals need some real world, plain language cases illustrating how new mobile technologies will help them. The business that can offer this to technology-hungry companies will be the one(s) who get their money.