An unexpected side effect of the bring-your-own-device policy many companies are adopting is that smart device owners who either quit their jobs or are fired are finding that their former companies are wasting no time in wiping every last piece of data from their devices. Many users have been surprised to discover their devices wiped to factory settings after having been terminated with their previous employers, who didn’t even give them a proper warning that would have allowed them to save personal data.
In early October, Michael Irvin stood up to leave a New York City restaurant when he glanced at his iPhone and noticed it was powering off. When he turned it back on again, all of his information—email programs, contacts, family photos, apps and music he had downloaded—had vanished. The phone looked “like it came straight from the factory,” said Mr. Irvin, an independent health-care consultant. It wasn’t a malfunction. The device had been wiped clean by AlphaCare of New York, the client he had been working for full-time since April. Mr. Irvin received an email from his AlphaCare address that day confirming the phone had been remotely erased.