The latest trends show mobile devices crossing into employee’s 9-5 workday. More companies are embracing the use of personal mobile devices for work purposes. Companies that practice enterprise mobility enable their employees to work from anywhere on a mobile device, accessing corporate data from cloud services. In other words, it’s a BYOD model — bring your own device.
With enterprise mobility, employees can work on a project on one device, save the updated project to a cloud storage service, and later access the information on a different platform in another location.
Consider the following scenario: An employee works on a client presentation in the office on a desktop. When they are finished, they upload it to a cloud service. They can then retrieve it later on a laptop during a meeting at the client’s workspace. The enterprise mobility model would even allow for a simple update en route to the client meeting.
Why is Enterprise Mobility Important for Small Companies?
There are a number of advantages for companies that embrace enterprise mobility. One important advantage is productivity. According to a recent iPass Global Mobile Workforce Report study, employees who have mobile access work an extra eight hours per week, on average.
Think about productivity in another context: Forward-thinking retailers such as Nordstrom have already equipped roving cashiers with mobile devices, allowing for on-the-spot sales as an alternative to waiting in a long line at the checkout.
Enterprise mobility makes a company more attractive to the well-connected (so to speak) members of the workforce. Top talent may be more likely to work for companies that are flexible about when and where they can plug in.
Considerations of Enterprise Mobility
Perhaps the most significant consideration of a company that practices enterprise mobility is the possibility of a security breach. Mobile devices are easily be lost and stolen, which makes corporate data vulnerable. By embracing enterprise mobility, companies can lose control over who can access their data.
To maintain credibility, companies must manage enterprise mobility responsibly. As wireless networks expand and workers bring additional mobile devices into the fold, data loss prevention technology can help organizations mitigate the risks of a violation.
Examples include password protection, data encryption, and remote wipe capabilities (so an employee could instantly erase data from a lost or stolen device). A great tool is the BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 (BES10), which allows for enterprise mobility management across BlackBerry, iOS, and Android platforms.
Another helpful resource is an acceptable use policy that clearly lays out the terms and conditions for mobile workers and mobile devices. For example, an acceptable use policy may have a clause that prohibits employees from downloading certain types of media, or installing personal messaging programs like Gchat or AIM. An employee who violates the terms, and thus makes the company susceptible to a security breach, loses mobile capabilities.
When enterprise mobility is conscientiously employed, it can improve employee productivity, foster a forward-thinking corporate culture, and encourage flexibility. Enterprise mobility could soon become the norm, and it’s up to companies to deploy it intelligently and efficiently.