The Coming War Over the iPhone

A war is clearly shaping up between gadget-loving users, who want to use Apple's iPhone, and the IT people at work, responsible for company data security.

AT&T and Apple believe business and IT professionals will want this phone and use it at work, and the device is expected to be heavily marketed to professionals.

However, Gartner analyst Ken Dulaney advises IT executives to avoid Apple's iPhone like the plague, and to actively keep it away from their company networks.

The reason: The Wi-Fi-enabled iPhone has no firewall, no Exchange or Lotus Notes support, no PBX integration and no ability to wipe company information from it if lost or stolen. It's a security hazard and a liability. (For more perspective, read iPhone: The Device IT Managers Will Love to Hate.)

Who Will Win?

Ultimately, the iPhone users will prevail--as did the PC people, Windows people, PDA people, and others who sneaked all this into large and small companies, and forced IT to eventually support them. In the meantime, however, it's going to get ugly, starting with policies banning the device (which will be ignored), followed by software-based blocking of attempts at iPhone connectivity. But when the CEO gets an iPhone--watch out! All bets are off.

Mike Elgan writes about technology and global tech culture. Contact Mike at mike.elgan@elgan.com or at his blog, The Raw Feed.

This story, "The Coming War Over the iPhone" was originally published by Computerworld.

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