Marten Bütow
26. April 2017 0

Answer the question: Who owns the app?

“Don’t mix business with pleasure”—this has been the rule for centuries. Recently, however, the boundaries between business and maybe not pleasure but private life are crumbling at a breathtaking pace. This brings me to the question: Who owns the app?

The distinction between work and private life has been blurred, especially at the workstation. BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), CYOD (Choose Your Own Device), or the latest trend, COPE (Company Owned Personally Enabled) alone give this trend three faces. But it is not just the question: Which device is the employee using? To whom does it belong? It’s more the question: Who owns the data and applications on the device? And what can the employee do with his or her device? Is an E-mail to their partner or the mechanic allowed? We used to have the rule: A call to the wife to say, “Honey, I’ll be home late tonight,” was OK. Anything beyond that was not. “I’ll be home early today,” was probably not okay either 😉

So, who owns the profiles?

This issue is not dissimilar to dealing with profiles on social networks. If recruiters have premium Xing or LinkedIn accounts paid for by the company—who owns the account? The company? Or the employee whose name and likeness graces the profile? Or an employee’s private account where he lists his company: When recruiters leave the company, for example, what happens to the employment-related contacts they have made? It’s a minefield.

The Windows Store holds the same potential for conflict: Can you use the features only for business, or can you use them also for private purposes? What happens to apps that a user downloads from the Windows Store? By the way, Windows is not alone in this. You can ask the question also for Apple’s and Google’s app stores. The apps are, of course, assigned to the respective user’s private profile, not to the user’s company.

Cortana is listening!

Things are slightly different with Cortana, but they also offer plenty of potential for intense debate: How does the company deal with the information sent to Microsoft? If you launch an app with the voice wizard, it is likely indiscriminate and only gives Microsoft (albeit valuable) feedback on which app you used and for how long. But if you dictate a confidential E-mail or store confidential content in unknown locations, it would certainly not be regarded by everyone as harmless.

It isn’t just COPE concepts that need savvy users, even normal use of Win10 requires sensitization and organizational policy. And this includes the option of completely deleting basic data such as interests, location data, e-mail and other communication data, and preferred preferences. Automated deletion of basic data can be illustrated with a Dynamic Workplace concept, as can a strict separation of private and business apps and data on one device—for those companies that would like to retain control.  In the next post of this series, we will discuss some of the aspects that companies should consider when they plan to deploy Windows 10.

So can you answer the question: Who owns the app? 😉

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