Author Topic: Company App on Your Personal Smartphone?  (Read 8996 times)

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OSUJillyBean

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Company App on Your Personal Smartphone?
« on: September 20, 2013, 02:04:01 PM »
I work in HQ for a large company in a cubicle farm.  December 2012 we were bought out by an even larger one and have been undergoing an awkward merger ever since.  There are a lot of bizarre examples but this one is really sticking in my craw this week:

IT has been installing some kind of app on employees' PERSONAL smartphones.

I myself am too cheap for a smartphone and the IT guy gave me an odd "this does not compute" look when I informed him of this fact.  He didn't seem to know how to handle it.  It apparently never occurred to the higher-ups that not every employee owns a smartphone. 

My coworker does have her own smartphone.  She likes to listen to music with earbuds in while she's working (which is 100% acceptable in our job, btw).  So she did not notice the IT guy stop by, grab her personal cell phone, and install some sort of data app.  She was flabbergasted when he handed it back to her. 

After he left, everybody but me has this app.  I do not know what it does although it requires "tokens" to activate and the IT guy did not hang around long enough to explain what tokens were or how to get them.  The company purchased a smart phone for our boss (an unprofessional woman who deserves her own story) but will not be purchasing them for the rest of us.  One coworker is worried that he might have to pay for any extra data used by this app.  I was wondering if they will be tracking people who play on Facebook, Twitter, etc. during work hours.  Can they see your private photos?  Read your texts?

I will admit here that I am not very technologically-inclined so that might just be paranoia.

Earbud-coworker (who had the app installed without her consent) was pretty livid and confused by the whole mess.  I, perhaps overstepping my boundaries, suggested she delete the app as her personal phone is of course her personal property and the company has no right to mess with it.  She did so.

Has anyone else come across this?  Am I correct in thinking that a company cannot put apps/programs on employees' personal phones?  Or is this a common practice?

Judah

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Re: Company App on Your Personal Smartphone?
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2013, 02:09:00 PM »
Well, they can if you allow it, but I would definitely not allow it. When the company starts paying my phone bill, they can do what they like with my phone, until then, no.
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Shoo

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Re: Company App on Your Personal Smartphone?
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2013, 02:10:54 PM »
If it were me and MY phone, first thing I would do is track down that IT guy and make him explain to me why he helped himself to my phone, and what, exactly, did he put on there?  What does it do, what is it for, and why didn't he bother asking me first before touching my personal property.  And then I'd ask for the company policy that states I have to have a company app on my personal cell phone.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Company App on Your Personal Smartphone?
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2013, 02:16:48 PM »
Our company offers applications that can be installed on pesonal cell phones. But it is not mandated and the employee needs to request it. I work for a Fortune 100 in IT and an IT guy installing something on a personal device without permission would be a major NO NO NO.

We have pretty tight security policies, so if you want to be able to access your company email from your personal smartphone we require you to install our email app, a firewall type app, and an app that forces a pretty strict password protection and the ability to remotely wipe your cell phone in case it is lost.

We also require what is caused two factor authentication to log into any of our IT systems remotely, so you have to not only enter your ID and password, but you also have to enter a random passcode that is generated by a token. They are referred to as tokens because the first ones came out about 15 years ago and they were little tokens that most attached to key chains that generated a random number. Now we can install a token app on our cell phone so we don't have to carry the token.

If I were the co-worker I'd alert the boss that IT was installing apps without employee approval and ask that he raise it up with the IT management.

Virg

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Re: Company App on Your Personal Smartphone?
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2013, 02:18:13 PM »
I have to agree with Shoo.  I'd have lit the guy up for installing anything on a personal device at all (or for handling it in the first place), but doubly so because he didn't ask or even inform her about it.  Is this company attempting to get lawsuits filed against them for some reason?

If someone who worked for me did this, they'd be explaining to me why they should still have a job.  I can see asking, and while I don't agree I can see an argument made for insisting, but in no case is it ever acceptable for a company representative to take possession of personal property without permission or notification.

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Jones

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Re: Company App on Your Personal Smartphone?
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2013, 02:20:24 PM »
If they didn't sign anything agreeing to or explaining this maneuver, I see no reason to not delete the app.

ETA: I confuse myself with my own double negatives. In other words, I think the coworkers should delete this invasion on their personal hardware.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2013, 02:24:40 PM by Jones »

Curious Cat

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Re: Company App on Your Personal Smartphone?
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2013, 02:20:54 PM »
I keep my phone locked so no one can get on it but I would be livid if I was in her shoes. I'd also immediately delete the app.

QueenfaninCA

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Re: Company App on Your Personal Smartphone?
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2013, 02:21:23 PM »
That's why my smartphone is protected with a pin code. Without the code you can't switch it on.

But yeah, I'd find out pronto what the heck IT guy did and who gave him permission to do that.

amylouky

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Re: Company App on Your Personal Smartphone?
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2013, 02:26:08 PM »
Yep, I'd be raising holy heck about this. Your company has absolutely no right to install anything on your personal phone, without your permission.
Now.. my company DOES have an app that they install on personal phones, but only at employee request.. it allows the employee to access company email on their phone. I'm in IT, and I can't even imagine just going up and sneaking someone's phone.

Carotte

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Re: Company App on Your Personal Smartphone?
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2013, 02:41:35 PM »
Holy what oO!
I'm not in IT but spend a considerable amount of time with "information system security" big shots and well, bathroom reading material is often stuff about computer and security :).
I had heard that the BYOD (Bring your own device) was already a big security breach in companies that still have no policy about it or just don't care.
Hmmmmm's job knows how to do it properly, the OP's job is actually opening themself to even more trouble.

If IT guy installed something on the coworkers phone without problem, then any one can steal it and have some kind of access into the company, somehow I don't think that's such a good idea  ::)

siamesecat2965

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Re: Company App on Your Personal Smartphone?
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2013, 02:42:05 PM »

We have pretty tight security policies, so if you want to be able to access your company email from your personal smartphone we require you to install our email app, a firewall type app, and an app that forces a pretty strict password protection and the ability to remotely wipe your cell phone in case it is lost.

We also require what is caused two factor authentication to log into any of our IT systems remotely, so you have to not only enter your ID and password, but you also have to enter a random passcode that is generated by a token.   

Mine does almost exactly the same thing. Which I do not take advantage of since there is no need for me to have a constant barrage of work email when I'm not working, nor am I like some of my CWs who feel the need to be "dialed in" every waking hour.  we do not, however, have a company "app" we are just too small, and quite honestly, I don't know what it would even be useful for if we had one.

But if someone in our IT dept simply snatched my phone, and downloaded some company app, oh no no no no. someone would be hearing about it, and it wouldn't be pretty. I think your CW was fine in simply deleting the app. I can't imagine any reason WHY a company would have any policy requiring that, let alone not communicating it to the employees.

OSUJillyBean

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Re: Company App on Your Personal Smartphone?
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2013, 02:52:29 PM »
I feel our boss must have been informed of this because she has a new company-provided smartphone with the app on it.  She got it the same day the IT guy was "lurking" and wasn't surprised so she knew the new-phone-with-app thing was coming.  She just didn't bother to inform the rest of us lowly peons.

I finally worked up the nerve to ask the 2nd-in-command lady her thoughts on the matter.  2IC agreed with me and informed that her phone hadn't worked with the app anyway, nor did she want it.  She also told earbud-coworker that it was perfectly fine to delete it as the app was supposed to be OPTIONAL.

Funny how the IT guy made it seem like an outright requirement and obviously didn't know what to do with me, the cheapskate with the $20 Walmart pay-as-you-go flip-phone.

siamesecat2965

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Re: Company App on Your Personal Smartphone?
« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2013, 03:02:30 PM »
I feel our boss must have been informed of this because she has a new company-provided smartphone with the app on it.  She got it the same day the IT guy was "lurking" and wasn't surprised so she knew the new-phone-with-app thing was coming.  She just didn't bother to inform the rest of us lowly peons.

I finally worked up the nerve to ask the 2nd-in-command lady her thoughts on the matter.  2IC agreed with me and informed that her phone hadn't worked with the app anyway, nor did she want it.  She also told earbud-coworker that it was perfectly fine to delete it as the app was supposed to be OPTIONAL.

Funny how the IT guy made it seem like an outright requirement and obviously didn't know what to do with me, the cheapskate with the $20 Walmart pay-as-you-go flip-phone.

Good for 2nd in command; it seemed fishy to me that it would be required.  Hahaha - I do have a smartphone, but....I am on a pay as you go plan, which is 1/4 the cost of the same plan with providers who require contracts, etc. Yes, I had to buy my phone outright, but its still much cheaper than one of those, with a free or subsizied phone.

I get people who look at me funny all the time, like you DON'T have big, national provider? Why no, I don't. and I get enough minutes etc. to suit my needs, and its affordable for me.

And I do know some folks who also don't have smartphone; I figure their choice, their money, but have heard others who just can't fathom that not EVERYONE wants the latest and greatest.

nayberry

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Re: Company App on Your Personal Smartphone?
« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2013, 03:03:13 PM »
+1 to having a pin, only me and my hubby know it.

and if he'd tried i'd have probably replied in a confused way ;) "but i don't have a work phone, oh my PERSONAL phone, no thanks i don't install third party apps." and turned back to what i was doing

MrTango

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Re: Company App on Your Personal Smartphone?
« Reply #14 on: September 20, 2013, 03:06:18 PM »
If someone somehow managed to get their hands on my smartphone (without my knowledge) for long enough to download and install an app, I'd be furious.

I'd immediately delete the app and report them to management for attempting to steal and sabotage my personal property.

If I was a customer of that company, I would cease my business relationships with that company immediately unless they immediately fired the offending party.

If I was an employee of the company, I'd start looking for another job where my personal property is respected.

Well, they can if you allow it, but I would definitely not allow it. When the company starts paying my phone bill, they can do what they like with my phone, until then, no.

I'd go a step further, actually.  Even if they did offer to pay my phone bill, I'd decline.  If they want to issue me with a company-owned phone for me to use for company-related tasks, I'd be fine with that, but my personal phone is my personal phone and I will not do my employer's business on my personal phone.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2013, 03:07:54 PM by MrTango »