Smartphone location tracking has been the subject of much controversy recently, but, according to one expert, businesses may be able to use this capability to improve their data security practices.
In a recent InformationWeek report, Mathew Schwartz noted that enterprise smartphone security practices are often lacking. Rather than equip company-issued and employee-owned devices with the data protection technology necessary to safeguard the handsets from data breaches, many organizations opt to save a few dollars and shirk this responsibility.
But location-tracking technology may be a different matter. While foregoing basic mobile security is not a recommended practice, location tracking technology could solve one aspect of data protection. Given how easy it can be to lose a smartphone or have it stolen, businesses may be able to use location tracking to recover a device before any sensitive company data is jeopardized.
This may help to allay some data security concerns regarding employee mobility. According to a recent Mformation study, 76 percent of surveyed chief information officers say employee-owned mobile devices, including tablets, cause security headaches.
Granted, location tracking in enterprise environments may cause privacy concerns.
"The revelation that smartphones track users' location recently caused an outcry, leading to Congressional inquiries, explanations from vendors, and mobile operating system tweaks," Schwartz wrote. "From a business standpoint, however, perhaps the reaction should be different."
Smartphone software developers – namely Apple and Google – made headlines recently when it was revealed the devices can be used to track user location. This controversy led to outcry from legislators, privacy advocates and many consumers. Following the revelation, Senator Al Franken sent a letter to Apple CEO Steve Jobs, expressing concerns regarding location tracking practices.
These concerns are likely to be echoed among employees if organizations choose to utilize the capability – regardless of the intention.