With the cost of adding cameras to mobile phones becoming marginal ($2-$5 per phone), META Group, Inc. expects the majority of phones to include this capability within two to three years. However, for many organizations cameras represent a significant liability or security risk — such as inappropriate candid shots of employees and pictures of production lines.
While the quality of most cameras in current phones is poor, it nonetheless represents a potential channel for leaks of sensitive data or other images that can produce unintended consequences. META Group recommends setting up a clear policy of no camera-enabled phones.
“Most organizations that provide phones to their employees and that are evaluating new, feature-rich mobile phones should require the vendor or carrier/supplier to permanently disable the camera or provide a device without a camera,” said Jack Gold, vice president with META Group’s Technology Research Services. “In addition, most organizations should examine mobile phones coming on premises and prevent camera-enabled devices from entering, particularly those belonging to non-employees.”
Enterprises should set firm policies for such devices and restrict their acquisition and use. Furthermore, all employees should be made aware of the policy and be called on to actively enforce it throughout the workplace.
“Although we expect to see some camera-enabled devices used in enterprises — insurance adjusters, inspections, field services — most organizations will look unfavorably on the deployment of camera-enabled devices and restrict their acquisition and use,” said Gold.