Are you going to allow Spotify in your company?

Graham Cluley
Graham Cluley
@[email protected]

Spotify running on an Android HTC Hero phone
The announcement today that Spotify is now available for users of iPhone and Android smartphones (well, in Europe at least) is making big headlines in the media, especially after the recent debate as to whether Apple would allow a potential competitor to its own iTunes to be allowed into its App Store.

The news is likely to excite gadget-friendly music fans as it will mean they will not only be able to access millions of songs from their mobile device, but they’ll also be able to download songs, albums and playlists to their headset for offline listening when they have no internet connection.

Such attractive mobile entertainment doesn’t come at no cost, however. Mobile Spotify users will need to pay £9.99 per month to access the service.

Nevertheless, it’s likely that more and more people will be intrigued enough to test out Spotify in the coming days as a result of the headlining technology news, or be converted to the service by its typically fervent fans. If the reports are correct that Spotify will extend its service to other mobile platforms including BlackBerries, Symbian and Windows Mobile devices then Spotify is likely to become an even larger attraction.

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Which raises an interesting question. What are you going to do about Spotify in your office?

Although you may have strict control over what applications your users install on the mobile devices that your company provides them with, you may have little control over the personal smartphones that techno-friendly users bring in from home. Those users may decide to gobble up some of your corporation’s internet bandwidth (rather than their home allowance) by downloading songs to their devices.

Furthermore, you may be concerned that users may try and install Spotify on your company’s Windows or Mac computers, potentially impacting productivity as they fine-tune their playlists.

Sophos’s Application Control functionality puts the power in the hands of system administrators to decide if Spotify should be allowed or not on your work PCs, setting a policy that none or only some of your users can run the service. Unfortunately we can’t offer you that level of control on smartphones yet – but maybe one day.

It’s not for us to tell you if Spotify should be allowed in your office or not. It’s a very personal decision that is best made by individual companies – but we hope we can do our bit to help you enforce a policy if you do decide to set one.

Of course, long term Clu-blog readers may remember that there’s another reason to think twice before using Spotify. Earlier this year we reported that over a million users of the music service were potentially put at risk after information such as email addresses, passwords, dates of birth, genders, postcodes and billing receipt details were exposed.

* Image source: Dekuwa’s Flickr photostream (Creative Commons)

Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

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