Mobile is the New Normal

By Roger Murray | September 7th, 2016

The trend of mobility and a more fluid workplace have changed professional environments in a relatively short period of time.  Mobile technology such as smartphones and tablets continue to redefine the way we work, because it changes when and where we are able to conduct business. We work from home, take conference calls en route to meetings, and send messages while 30,000 feet in the air.  The push to mobile has left many organizations struggling to adjust their Information Technology (IT) strategies in order to keep pace and accommodate the growing burden of additional network devices, as well as expectations for end user support. Understanding the evolution in technology is not only an integral part to maximizing your IT investments, but also learning how to manage them moving forward. Here are some trends we’ve correlated to these workplace changes.

Mobility & Design:  Today’s business does not revolve around a computer with an employee at every desk.  Business owners are increasingly less interested in cube farm layouts and moving more toward fluid workspaces. The adoption of this new setup focuses on connectivity and mobility to allow for collaboration between unilateral hierarchies across geographic distances.   For IT, the design translates to creating flexibility in the workspace, with minimal hardwired technology.

BYOD Strategy is Always Shifting:  There is a continuing surge in the popularity of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) by employees, many of which are eager to no longer carry company devices in addition to their own.  It remains a convenient offering that allows employees the ability to access simple, yet operationally imperative data and communications with tools like email.

However, as technology has advanced within a multitude of devices with greater capabilities, BYOD has had to evolve in order for employees to have access to more of the network while working outside the office.  Now IT teams are forced to not only include the ability to remotely lock and wipe devices, but also managing the information being stored on them.

IT has focused on how to secure mobile devices along with their corporate network through the adoption of mobile device management technologies and tools.  Mobility Management allows your IT team to apply policies and manage information with fuller integration at the device level, while ensuring the safeguarding of your data.  At this level management can build a setup that is more inclusive with security and content management that allows you to lock access points, deactivate privileges, and remote deployment of critical updates/applications.

Privacy & Network Security:  An important aspect of enjoying access from virtually anywhere revolves around attaining secure wireless access points (WAP) and keeping the devices safe.   One of the easiest ways to expose yourself to a data breach revolves around using open WAPs to connect to the internet.  The modern sleek and thin design of these devices are also susceptible to being easily forgotten in the back of a cab, seat pocket, or even slipping out of your pocket without even noticing.  All of these vulnerabilities are a result of having access outside of the corporate network where a user can forget their device or unknowingly install malicious applications onto corporate devices.

These risks are in addition to the increase in sophisticated attacks from hackers attempting to gain the same level of remote access to your network.  Managing on the device level can provide two-step authentication on the application level, restricting downloads to only native applications, in addition to creating a white-list/black-list of permitted content that can be downloaded without administrator rights.  Having these abilities are tremendously helpful in limiting the impact and effectiveness of attacks.

Privacy of online activity for users is also a cause for concern, especially for those using their own device for work.  However, many tools offer privacy controls that separate personal and corporate information, providing the transparency to organizations while simultaneously giving comfort to the users that their every action is not being monitored by their employer.

Moving to the Cloud:  It isn’t just IT which has recalibrated their strategy; mobile and operating systems alike have recognized the shift toward mobility, creating the opportunity for employees to work on any device, from any location, safely. This shift has permitted laptops and other more tradition devices to be managed much like a smartphone.

A great example of this would be the release of Windows 10, a mobile-first, cloud-managed operating system with full device management capabilities with a strong vision for a unified network management platform that protects data across mobile, desktops, and laptops alike.

Final Thought: Employee expectations and IT capabilities have changed the workforce landscape; it has become a necessity to provide mobile tools and technology to staff in order to compete in the modern professional environment.  Through empowering their employees with the right tools, they can be more productive, from anywhere, and at any time.

However, it’s important to also implement checks and balances in order to mitigate potential vulnerabilities which these mobile devices present. The policies implemented need to include multiple device management tools, monitored access points, secure application integration, and trusted data storage solutions.  Your organization’s IT strategy must maintain a balance between these two facets, ensuring your user’s ability to become more efficient while retaining your data’s integrity and security.

To learn more about how other businesses – like you – take advantage of today’s mobile technology safely and securely, contact us!

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