By David Halpin, SVP of engineering at Quickoffice
Enterprises today face a mobile conundrum. Everyone wants to keep pace with the evolving technologies, but when and how should an Enterprise adopt a BYOD strategy? And if they do, how can they be sure that one false move won’t jeopardize the organization’s security and content? IBM’s CIO just recently announced they were rolling out a BYOD movement to nearly a ½ million workers.
Additionally, tablets are having a transformative impact on enterprises. ChangeWave Research recently polled 1,604 business IT buyers, and 22 percent plan to purchase tablets for their employees in Q2, 2012. Our own user surveys show an increasing number of people take notes on tablets rather than laptops. Add the growing adoption of cloud services, and you have new technology at hand to enable a truly productive mobile workforce.
Is this perhaps a good indication for the rest of us to get on board? It’s a complex question that many are considering while they think about adopting the latest mobile technology.
At Quickoffice, we enjoy a unique position and perspective on the growing enterprise mobile cloud market. Enterprises and small businesses alike, are increasingly approaching Quickoffice for secure productivity applications for their multi-platform, multi-device and multi-cloud environments. This spurred the development of our ProSelect HD application and partnership with Egnyte, among several other unique enterprise mobile initiatives. Today, corporate users want anytime, anywhere access to their critical documents to conduct work on the go, and securely share files and collaborate with colleagues, clients or partners.
Mobile users are certainly coming of age and it’s important enterprises keep pace, while keeping security concerns in check. The cloud is becoming a reality in the mobile enterprise, and apps are the viewports connecting devices to data in the cloud, making hardware and operating systems increasingly irrelevant. Most people carry multiple devices and the old model of managing mobile devices simply won’t work anymore.
With the emergence of mobile applications, it’s the access the apps have – not the device itself – that endangers your corporate data. Today’s app-centric devices can compromise security by storing un-encrypted data, not requiring passwords, accessing your email, cut / copy and pasting data outside security sandboxes, publish data to cloud storage provides, sharing data via WiFi, just to name a few. To address this concern, look to implement applications that have enterprise configurations to enable a division between corporate and personal data and support proper enterprise security models.
Bottom line: Employees will use personal mobile devices and applications regardless of whether enterprises provide consent. As such, it’s important to try and secure the user’s devices as much as possible. So, we’d like to leave you with a few tips on how you can start to get better control of BYOD.
- User education – explain to staff members what the real dangers of BYOD are
- Cost sharing – share the cost of the device or monthly service with employees to help control BYOD
- Purchase assistance – offer to help employees select a new phone or other device will allow IT to establish device standards
- Reward for enrollment – give the user something in return for allowing access to his or her device to promote employee buy-in
- Reward for good behavior – offer rewards to users who follow acceptable use policies
We wish you luck as you bravely enter the new mobile enterprise world. It’s a world that is rapidly changing and evolving, but it offers great opportunities if harnessed correctly.