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The last big way for companies to protect their data across multiple device types and platforms is by making sure the data itself knows where it does and doesn't belong. Gartner analyst Ken Dulaney says companies should consider using digital rights management (DRM) techniques to tag data so that it will automatically delete itself if it's sent to a place where it could be copied or stolen. So if a worker accidentally uploads a sensitive document onto iCloud instead of the company's private cloud, the document will automatically destroy itself as soon as it recognizes it's been placed in iCloud.
"You use DRM techniques to arm the data to know where it is and what to do when it's in someplace it doesn't belong," Dulaney explains. "The data has to become smart, it has to say 'I'm in a room that doesn't look like normal office room and I'm going to delete myself.'"
The bottom line, though, is that companies will continue facing major challenges with workers bringing their own devices to work and it's likely to remain a hot topic for IT departments heading into 2013 as well. The good news, says Kane, is that companies are increasingly investing in the sorts of tools that will allow users to take more responsibility for managing their own devices, thus freeing up IT departments to work on more valuable tasks that don't involve babysitting users who leave their iPhones in bars late at night.
"Many companies are transitioning to bring-your-own-device programs that let users access enterprise app stores, that give them the responsibility of wiping their own devices when they get lost, and that let them interact with their coworkers in company-sanctioned forums to discuss the best apps to use," he says. "It's become a shared responsibility and it has to be managed that way.
Read more about wireless & mobile in Network World's Wireless & Mobile section.