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Why do I have to use a passcode and give permission for the University to wipe my mobile phone when setting it up to use the staff/researcher (Exchange) email system?

If you have set up your iPhone or Android device to read your University email since moving to the Exchange mail and calendaring system, you may have noticed that there are additional security measures which are enforced as part of the setup.

These requirements, which are built into Exchange, are designed to ensure that University data is given a minimum level of protection when it is accessible from devices which are more prone to loss or theft.

When you use Exchange, the following restrictions are required.

You must have some sort of passcode set to protect against casual browsing of information should the device fall into the wrong hands. If you set up your mail account using Exchange ActiveSync, this will be enforced, but if you use another method to add your mail (such as "IMAP"), then you should set your own passcode;

Remote Wipe
The new mail system includes a feature which you are likely to find very useful if your device is stolen. Devices such as iPhones, iPads and Android smart phones include a remote wipe facility so that if they are stolen, it is possible to send a reset instruction to wipe all of the data on the device.

When you add a Sussex mail account using Exchange ActiveSync, you may be asked to give the University mail system access to this remote wipe feature. In practice, this means that if your device is stolen, you will have the ability to delete its contents very easily by logging in to the Outlook Web App.

To see how this would work, login to OWA and click on Options and then Phone. You will see a list of any mobile devices that have been set up to use your email account. If you wanted to wipe all of your data on the device, you would highlight the device that has been stolen, and then click on Wipe Device to send the reset instruction. Please note however, that this will permanently wipe everything on the device, effectively restoring it to its factory state, so should only be used if your device has been lost or stolen.

Security passwords on Nokia phones
Some versions of Nokia phones implement the requirement for the passcode by switching on the default handset password. If you are a Nokia user but have the handset password disabled, you should make sure you know the default password before you use Exchange ActiveSync to add your Sussex mail account. If you don't know the default password, you will need to contact your network provider to confirm it.

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This is question number 2333, which appears in the following categories:

Created by David Guest on 9 June 2011 and last updated by Alexander Butler on 2 March 2020