May 19, 2020

How the Kill Switch Law Affects Businesses

kill switch
Jessica Oaks
3 min
How the Kill Switch Law Affects Businesses

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In this 21st century, running a sound business means embracing and incorporating the latest technology available. Company mobile phones are often provided to employees to check, receive and send emails remotely, access and share documents, and even update a company’s social media feed. The amount of confidential corporate data contained in a smart phone is copious. If it lands in the wrong hands, a thief could pose a serious threat.

Beginning July 1, 2015, a mobile “kill-switch” law will take effect in California that will require all smart phones made in the state to include a default kill-switch function. Kill switch technology enables phone owners to remotely shut off or wipe their mobile device when lost or stolen. The main purpose of the legislation is to prevent and discourage smart phone theft. Approximately 40 percent of robberies in major cities involve stealing of mobile communication devices. If this law works, the West Coast state’s mandate could spark a revolution in the mobile device industry. The rest of the nation could follow suit by implementing the same regulations. Businesses could be impacted positively, and even negatively, from kill switch enforcement. 

The use of a kill switch would render a phone useless to an unauthorized user, removing the motivation to steal it in the first place. This is a great security measure for businesses. There is a possibility data thieves could figure out how to wipe a phone even if it has a kill switch. However, recent technological developments  include Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processor chips. These are being built to lock phones straight from the hardware, in addition to the software component, offering an extra layer of security.

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On top of the secure data factor the kill switch ensures that small businesses on a tighter budget will reap extra benefits. Currently, only 39 percent of small businesses have the ability to remotely wipe data from lost or stolen company smart phones, versus 54 percent of large enterprises. With the government regulation, access to a baseline anti-theft tool would become available to all businesses, small and large, allowing each organization to feel safer knowing they can protect private company information. In congruence with the projected overall decrease in phone theft, a decrease in overhead to replace lost and stolen smart phones is also likely. Not to mention, employees can feel less of a burden should their mobile device go missing.   

With the good, there is potential for bad. Many businesses often want less government interference when trying to run shop, so it’s no surprise some are weary of having a government-mandated law that could affect corporate communications. Although there is always a chance for unwelcomed government intervention in business operations, the kill switch law should in general be a very positive change for companies. Protecting proprietary data is at the forefront of concerns for almost every establishment. This regulation will give businesses another way to guard their information from unwanted eyes.

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Jun 13, 2021

Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl

Kate Birch
5 min
Former CMO for IBM Americas Maria Bartolome Winans was recently named CMO for Kyndryl. Maria talks about her new role and her leadership style

Former Chief Marketing Officer for IBM Americas, and an IBM veteran of more than 25 years, Maria Bartolome Winans was recently named CMO for Kyndryl.

Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.

With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.

You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?

I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.

We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.

What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?

I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.

The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.

How would you describe your leadership style?

I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.

I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.

What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?

When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.

What does success look like to you?

I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.

What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?

I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.

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