IBM says no to Siri

In an attempt to secure company information, IBM bans Siri and cloud services by its employees.

By Benzinga May 29, 2012 7:12PM

Credit: © 2012 Apple Inc
Caption: iPhone 4sBy Louis Bedigian, Benzinga Staff Writer

IBM (IBM) has shut the door on Siri.

In an effort to avoid any security issues associated with Siri, IBM recently told its employees that they must disable the voice-activated feature or stop bringing their iPhones to work.

This might come as a surprise to Siri-loving iPhone 4S users who can't live without the feature. But IBM isn't taking any chances.

In a recent interview, IBM's chief information officer said the company allows more than 80,000 employees to use their own smartphones and tablets, according to a Goldman Sachs report Tuesday. IBM requires some modifications to keep its network secure, and one of those modifications disables Siri. Why? "To assuage IBM of concerns that [employees'] spoken queries might be stored someplace," Goldman analysts wrote.

Companies have been besieged with requests from employees to use their own iPhones and other devices in the workplace. But that brings network safety challenges, according to Goldman Sachs. The analysts said it was somewhat surprising that Siri itself would be explicitly disabled.

Siri isn't the only thing IBM is concerned about. By banning other in-the-cloud services, it has effectively eliminated Dropbox, iCloud and similar services. "Despite the security risks, apps like Dropbox and iCloud have extraordinarily useful applications, and denying access to them may limit employee productivity," The Mac Observer wrote last week.

Did IBM overreact?

Has IBM already exposed itself by allowing cloud-based services to be used within the company?

Possibly. We do not yet know the full extent of Siri's vulnerabilities, and Apple (AAPL) has yet to comment on IBM's decision. But in April, Dropbox's head of business development told InformationWeek that if you're in a highly sensitive or regulated field,such as defense, banking or healthcare, "our service as it stands today isn't a good fit."

Perhaps IBM should have acted sooner.

IBM closed Tuesday at $196.46, up 1.11% for the day and 6.84% this year. Apple closed at $572.27, up 1.77% for the day and 41.3% this year. 

More From Benzinga
May 30, 2012 5:02AM
I don't know why IBM worries so much about network security threaths from SIri, cause anything that they manufacture is so outdated and useless. Ask yourself what innovating technology has IBM developed in the last 10 years? Nothing. They just stay in business by acquiring companies, outsourcing their software development and services.  On top of it they have keot a legacy (old) workforce since they invented the mainframes. IBM management is a bunch of inbreds including their CEO. They that have worked in that company forever.
May 30, 2012 6:54AM
But in April, Dropbox's head of business development told InofrmationWeek that if you're in a highly sensitive or regulated field,such as defense, banking or healthcare, "our service as it stands today isn't a good fit."

That says it all. IBM did not overreact.
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