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New Kindle Fire HDX's tech support button could push IT to yell 'Mayday!'

Matt Hamblen | Sept. 27, 2013
'Mayday button' poses security issues for IT; CTO, analysts suggest letting IT customize tool so it can work with corporate help desk

Ultimately, the question comes down to IT distrust of any third party, including Amazon.

Some analysts noted that if the tablet is owned by the worker, IT shops can't govern personal use and, therefore, use of the Mayday button. It's a classic problem for the many IT shops now dealing with the evolving Bring Your Own Device paradigm, analysts said.

With the Mayday button, users of the Kindle Fire HDX can talk with a live help desk person. (Photo: Business Wire)

Despite the many concerns IT shops may have with the Mayday button, Jack Gold, an analyst at J. Gold Associates, said it could prove beneficial if the user request could be rounted to the IT help desk.

"The Mayday button would be cool if it could be redirected to the help desk of an enterprise. That would help IT shops," Gold said. "Amazon's help desk doesn't offer much help for enterprise users. There's no real advantage for business users if a business app fails to work."

In essence, Gold said, Mayday is a "consumer play" that's "not focused on enterprises, per se."

Amazon didn't respond when queried about whether the Mayday tool can be customized to allow the routing of calls by workers using Kindle Fire HDX workers to internal help desk.

Alex Yohn, chief technology officer at WagePoint, an online payroll software services provider, agreed that Mayday could prove valuable in business and education organizations if requests could be routed to internal IT staff.

When he served recently in an IT post at West Virginia University, Yohn said that remote user support was provided by the university help desk through an effective and popular subscription with LogMeIn. "It was used constantly and by everybody and provided a quick link for users," he said.

"My question for Amazon would be: Can Mayday requests come to our help desk? If we would have to use the Amazon help desk, we would have issues with that. If it's like a LogMeIn remote session, that would be a wonderful thing and we would go with that in a heartbeat," Yohn said.

Yohn said that in addition to the privacy and security worries that come with using a third party help desk, Amazon experts may have difficulty answering questions specific to company or university networks. "They might not know our particular settings for an Exchange service or Citrix remote services, so that might become convoluted," he said.

Yohn also said that a BYOD worker with a Kindle Fire HDX couldn't be restricted from using Mayday for personal uses.

"If it's BYOD, I can't say you can never use Mayday," he said. "It opens up a lot of questions. If it's my people on the help desk, it's a wonderful thing. If it's not my people, I would have a huge hesitation moving forward with it."


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