Firms mull self-destructing data apps
When it comes to BYOD, a major concern of IT managers is data security on personally owned mobile devices.
Some firms are looking at apps like Snapchat as a model for corporate data security, according to a report by Network World. Snapchat enables smartphone users to share photo images that self-destruct after 10 seconds.
Snapchat was launched in 2011 by Stanford University students Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy to share "impermanent photos" taken using mobile devices. Venture capitalists have started to take notice because of its popularity in the consumer market, noted the report.
Snapchat has become so popular that the company estimates close to 150 million photos are uploaded and shared using the app every day, ABC News reported.
The idea of "impermanent data" is beginning to take hold in the corporate world as well. For example, Intralinks Holdings has developed an app called VIA, which enables corporations to share confidential data, but then allows that data to be deleted automatically after a certain time period.
One Intralinks customer is Midland Metal Products, which uses VIA to share computer-aided design files for custom manufacturing with business partners. The firm restricts downloads of sensitive design and sets time limits for files that are shared.
"It puts controls on what people see, and I can put expiration dates on sensitive documents," Marc McDonald, owner of Midland Metal Products, told Network World.
At the same time, apps that enable companies to delete data and email could run afoul of regulations requiring firms to retain that information for a certain period of time. In addition, these apps could pose hurdles for investigators trying to track down evidence of wrongdoing.
The regulatory and legal issues still need to be sorted out regarding apps that self-destroy data. However, the appeal from a data security standpoint is obvious, particularly in an era of BYOD and cloud-based file sharing.