Enterprise mobility in brief
In a nutshell, mobility is – as the name suggests – all about being mobile. In a business sense, this refers to a rather broad spectrum of activities, from using mobile devices and apps, to being connected to cloud services, to simply working out of the office. Any act of productivity normally reserved for nine-to-fivers stuck at a desk that can be performed outside the confines of the office falls under the umbrella of business mobility. It’s been enabled largely thanks to the proliferation of mobiles, tablets, and laptops, as well as portable-friendly varieties of desktop applications, from Microsoft Office and Exchange to business CRM and telephony platforms.
What’s cloud got to do with it?
“The cloud”, a concept we’ve explored in significant depth here at Silver Lining (you’ll find links to some of our Cloud pieces at the foot of this article) is the crux of business mobility. Portable devices and applications may allow employees to function outside of the office, but it’s the cloud which keeps businesses seamlessly interconnected. The majority of business professionals use Cloud-based systems to some degree – whether that’s simply backing up files and sharing them between devices, or hosting their IT infrastructure within the cloud for maximum accessibility.
As far as remote working is concerned, accessing one’s company desktop and applications is a popular trend, typically carried out over a virtual private network, or VPN for short. This is essentially a “tunnel” from the user’s remote PC to their workstation via the Internet. Here at Silver Lining we champion Cloud-based desktops which reside virtually rather than on a desk and can be logged into from anywhere.
As with any situation in which sensitive corporate data dares to venture into the big wide world – be it over the Internet or on an employee’s device – there are inherent security risks. Time and time again we hear of flash drives loaded with confidential information being left on public transport, or unencrypted data being bafflingly published online by mistake. Theft or loss of company data is an obvious concern to any remote worker; employees must be vigilant with both hardware and software when out of the office. Malware also poses a threat, especially since it can propagate to otherwise secure company networks by being brought in on an employee device.
Another disconcerting trend that has emerged within recent years is a massive spike in data usage, primarily due to the rollout of fast 4G mobile connectivity. While data use on business devices has almost tripled in the last three years, the price of data has largely remained stagnant, leading to hugely inflated bills for businesses. Companies will need to re-evaluate their business mobile tariffs to account for this new wave of data-hungry remote workers.
Enterprise mobility is a good thing. Adapting technology to suit a modern generation of upwardly mobile employees opens up a wealth of opportunities, and blurs the line between out-of-office and “desk work”. There are of course risks associated with corporate data on the move, but these fall to responsible organisations to mitigate. When handled correctly, mobility can greatly enhance the capability and productivity of staff.