Blogger: Bill Pray
President-elect Barack Obama's desire to keep his Blackberry has generated a significant amount of media attention in the last few days. During a CNBC interview last week, the President-elect explains that he is being advised for security and legal reasons to give up his Blackberry. President-elect Barack Obama was quoted as saying “...I’m still clinging to my BlackBerry. They’re going to pry it out of my hands.”
Mr. Obama goes on to explain:
"I don't know that I'll win, but I'm still--I'm still fighting it. And--but here's the point I was making, I guess, is that it's not just the flow of information. I mean, I can get somebody to print out clips for me, and I can read newspapers. What it has to do with is having mechanisms where you are interacting with people who are outside of the White House in a meaningful way. And I've got to look for every opportunity to do that--ways that aren't scripted, ways that aren't controlled, ways where, you know, people aren't just complimenting you or standing up when you enter into a room, ways of staying grounded. And if I can manage that over the next four years, I think that will help me serve the American people better because I'm going to be hearing their voices. They're not going to be muffled as a consequence of me being in the White House."
Virtually every IT department grapples with the challenge of securing and protecting the mobile devices, and the data on them, connected to their network. The content in e-mail stored on a mobile device can create pain for any IT department when that device is lost, stolen, or otherwise compromised. I can just see enterprise security experts cringing at the words "ways that aren't controlled." While the President-elect's situation is an extreme use case, the President-elect's comments are a valuable insight into the role of the mobile device for Presidents, CEOs, Senior Executives, etc. For them, the mobile device is not only their connection into the enterprise, but also to the world outside of their enterprise.
So, while it is challenging, IT departments are better off not trying to pry it out of their executives hand. Many IT departments will agree with Paul DeBeasi's New Year's resolution: Better Mobile Security. Mobile collaboration is here to stay, because it is no longer just about accessing e-mail or information - for an executive, it is a connection with the world.