Gartner recently revealed its predictions for IT in 2014 and two things are very evident. The first is that companies must start preparing for a huge increase in mobile devices in the workplace and the second is that cloud computing will become absolutely essential. The way that businesses share information with employees is changing. Now, much of what we do is carried out online and employees are able to access it from home, on the go, and most importantly on their own devices. This opens up an entirely new avenue for reaching your employees and keeping them in the loop. However, like any road less travelled there are many pitfalls that can and should be avoided.
Let’s consider some and how your company can avoid them.
Many businesses are experiencing the growth of the smartphone market first hand and it’s worth considering how you can use that industry to benefit your own. Currently around 60% of employees access company data from their smartphones and tablets. This, however, is not reflected in the way that businesses in general attempt to communicate with staff.
Only a third of businesses have implemented management tools and processes to incorporate those devices according to Ovum’s 2013 Bring-Your-Own survey. The sample was fairly large, conducted in 19 countries with 4,371 participants and it is many months since the data was collected. It’s likely that the figure is much higher now.
Gartner suggest that, due to BYOD policies being implanted in the enterprise, the amount of smartphones in the work place has nearly tripled. However according to Ovum’s Richard Absalom: “People are bringing their own devices, but in many cases they and their companies are not taking care of those devices and the applications on them appropriately. Obviously, a large proportion is probably going unmanaged.”
This is clearly an area that businesses could and should exploit and BYOD management offers numerous opportunities for developers and cloud providers.
“There’s a big demand for cloud services to cover enterprise mobility management,” said Absalom. He added that most mobility management vendors provide a mixture of both cloud and on premise services, depending on the demands of the business. Many entrepreneurial ISV’s have started to offer cloud based BYOD management tools including Armor5, MobileSafe, and Cisco-acquired Meraki. Absalom added there is much scope for further innovation, even when the addition of major vendors to the market – IBM, HP, Dell, Microsoft –is considered.
So before you jump right in and choose some BYOD management tools you have some things to consider. Pre planning is important, as it will let you know what you want to get out of BYOD management.
Here are the four tips you have been waiting for and hopefully they will help you as you move towards successful BYOD management.
A big concern for businesses that employ BYOD policies is the loss of data. It is important to remember the capabilities of much of the technology that your employees are using. Smartphones come equipped with video features, for example, and it’s worth considering how that could impact your business. An employee taking photos or videos of a product in development could have drastic implications. If the images taken reach the internet for example, your product that was once shrouded in secrecy is now in the public domain.
If your business is integrating BYOD management into its business model it must have mandatory participation from every employee. This means everyone, from the ground level to the upper management; after all, what’s the point in implementing these tools if they are not commonplace. You must also make sure that your employees are clear about what sites they can and cannot access. Your staff must have clear policy guidelines and you must police your networks.
Remember that by employing cloud services and using BYOD management tools you’re allowing a wide sample of people access to business related data. Your staff are necessary additions to this network but make sure that the Wi-Fi networks are encrypted and safe. You don’t want everyone having access to your network so remember to control and limit access simply to those who need it. Encryption and access controls are a must where business related data is concerned.
If you are expecting your staff to bring their own device to work you have to consider that not everyone in your employ will have access to this technology. It is important to ensure a broad device choice, allowing your staff to pick the device they would prefer to use. To ensure that everyone has access to a smartphone for example, perhaps your business could offer to pay some of the cost. This will increase the saturation of technology in your business.
It’s a good idea to meet your workforce halfway and if there is already a prevalence of smartphone usage don’t fight it. Instead incorporate the technology into your business, consider some of the risks and combat them, and use the BYOD method to your advantage.
Hosted desktop applications are ideal for a BYOD environment, as they allow employees to access the company intranet from anywhere. Further to this, an employee can access their desktop exactly as it would appear if the software was installed locally, on a PC. This means that there’s no need for extra training when it comes to deployment of the hosted desktop.
It also means that you can offer the employee:
Of course, for the small business owner, it also means that you can take your work anywhere in the world and access it anywhere with an internet connection. It may not sound like a dream (unconnected) holiday is on the cards, but it allows you to keep up with exactly what’s going on at work at all times. Any small business owner knows that this is desirable, I’ve never met one that doesn’t check their mail etc. whilst on holiday.
With the power of a hosted desktop running your applications in the cloud, it’s much easier to build an agile and scalable business that can, with the right choices, be a roaring success.
With no set up costs, businesses pay a monthly amount per user which will be extremely beneficial to small businesses who won't have to lay out vast sums of money and will have instant I.T. support.
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