The Situation

I work in an IT department for a law/property/ifa firm and we have iPhones rolled out to many of the important staff members. It is a UK firm, and as well as the permanent staff we also have consultants who may work for many companies come in who also get iPhones. We have a profile setup that allows our firm's mail and contacts to be synced with the phone. We also prohibit the use of iCloud as using it will breach the Data Protection Act as the iCloud severs are US based. The consultants who come in also have mail from other addresses they use to go to the phone. Our configuration we place on the phones disables the use of iCloud.

The Problem

One consultant uses a mobileme address as their email outside of the firm and needs their mail on the iPhone. The problem here is that mobileme is now part of iCloud, which as we mentioned we cannot use due to the configuration placed on the phones and will not use as the information we handle is incredibly sensitive and while someone may not bother taking legal action with a single consultant over using iCloud they would most certainly try their hand at taking it with a firm of our size considering we know about and acknowledge that using iCloud breaks the Data Protection Act. I have searched all over to see if it is possible to have the consultants email sync with the phone without using iCloud and the only ray of light I saw was that you can use mobileme email on devices that don't have the system requirements for iCloud.

The Question

Is it possible to have mobileme email addresses sync without using iCloud on the iPhone? Is there a better way in going about it?

  • Does your IT policy allow personal use of company property? Are there firewall rules in existence for other sorts of information. That might help you to decide how to mix business and pleasure on the iPhones. – bmike May 24 '12 at 12:26

I don't know the first thing about what the UK Data Protection Act covers, but you can clearly see in the iCloud and Mail, Contacts, Calendars settings that you can slide off Mail yet still slide on the other categories of data.

Contacts (addresses), Calendars, Reminders, Notes.

If it's OK to store that sort of information, then your consultant can continue to use Mobile Me / iCloud to put that information in the cloud. Again, you are trusting them to not store actual "protected data" inside an appointment as an attachment (mail message) as well as not enable the mail slider.

You might just decide to require them to use a hosted mail and account that complies with your data storage requirements. Period, full stop. Sometimes that is the cost of doing business as a professional.

Also - you can bank fairly certainly that Apple won't change the drop dead date to finish MobileMe since it's been published for about 13 months now.


All MobileMe mail will shut off on June 30th, 2012 - presumably pacific time in the US.

  • DPA part in question: We can't store confidential information outside the EU without the owners consent. This includes their email and anything else that is personal information. As it only takes 1 person to say no out of tens of thousands of clients to entirely shut down the use of iCloud, it's just not worth it. It's looking like I'm just going to have to say to them that if they want to use iCloud on the iPhone, they need to go get their own iPhone to use iCloud with. – Stuart Thomson May 24 '12 at 12:35
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    Technically, anything you send over the internet can route anywhere - especially mail can be "stored" any hop along the way. I would hope policy lies in the definition of "store". Hopefully the DPA has some clear guidance on what is permissible so you don't have to second guess everything and just go back to paper and couriers. – bmike May 24 '12 at 12:58
  • After looking at their iCloud and finding out the interactions between the iCloud services they can use their @me email on the phone without breaking the DPA with the downside of not having access to their contacts. Sadly I don't think they are too happy about having mail access and no contacts, but that's a different problem now. Thanks for the help – Stuart Thomson May 24 '12 at 13:18
  • Is this the best resource to learn about the DPA? ico.gov.uk/for_organisations/data_protection.aspx – bmike May 24 '12 at 15:28
  • yes, thats a good link. One of the big things it doesn't mention there is that the DPA conflicts with the USA's Patriots Act. – Stuart Thomson May 24 '12 at 15:52

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