Monitoring employee use of third-party technologies may be the next frontier of trade secret protection. Apple’s Siri technology recently made news when IBM revealed that it prohibits employees from using Apple’s voice dictation features on their iPhones.
As reported by Ars Technica, IBM CIO Jeanette Horan stated in an interview that the company turns off Siri on employees’ iPhones due to security concerns created by the service. Siri works by sending voice commands through the Internet to Apple’s servers for processing before providing a response. Because companies cannot control who has access to any stored data, Siri and related technology could pose a risk to trade secrets and other proprietary information.
While IBM’s trade secret protection measures may seem extreme, the company may be ahead of the curve. Many companies are starting to adopt policies limiting the use of Google services because the company also stores a wealth of user information on its servers.
As technology continues to evolve, companies need to adjust their policies and procedures. While password protection and non-disclosure agreements are still the norm, companies must also take steps to address the security concerns created by employee use of social media and other emerging technologies, including voice dictation and cloud document storage.