Employees improvise with bring your own cloud

The Bring Your Own Cloud (BYOC) phenomenon highlights an important deficit in most enterprise IT mobile efforts.

Mobile workers are signing up for personal cloud services to get their work done, because they need immediate access to essential work content across all their devices, including smartphones, tablets, and laptops and they aren't being given corporate endorsed mobile solutions.

In too many enterprises, internal IT teams are not providing services that provide secure mobile access to enterprise content, or they are providing services that are awkward or restrictive, which leads employees to seek a way around this.

Part of the problem leading to these work-arounds is that many legacy enterprise applications are slow and cumbersome on a mobile device.

Consider the basic operation of securely accessing a file on a SharePoint server. In the desktop era, this was relatively straightforward. The employee would already be on the internal network, and he or she would log in through SharePoint to navigate through the file hierarchy, and find the content needed.

On a smartphone or tablet, this is considerably more difficult. Most Enterprise Content Management (ECM) platforms, such as SharePoint, lack a mobile interface designed for the smaller screens of smartphones and tablets. And remote access to these platforms typically involves a VPN.

Entering VPN credentials on a smartphone or tablet is a cumbersome experience. Additionally, mobile VPNs are notoriously slow and unreliable. Once connected to the VPN, the mobile worker has to navigate through the SharePoint interface using a screen that is a fraction of the size imagined by the original SharePoint UI designers.

Rather than hassle with multiple different actions to get to business content, all too often employees move enterprise information into their own personal cloud.

And while you have to applaud employees who look for ways to be more productive, these kinds of solutions dramatically increase data security risk and vulnerability for the enterprise organisation.

Paula Skokowski is chief marketing officer at Accellion.