Have enterprise mobility and a mobile workforce become safe?

In 2015, millennials became the largest generation in the workforce, bringing with them new experiences, ideas ,and approaches to work. This tech-savvy generation is made up of people who barely remember a time in which mobile and email was not essential to everyday work. With fewer traditional working boundaries, millennials tend to streamline their personal and professional lives on their mobile devices.

On a single device, employees can stay connected 24/7, managing all major aspects of life, from a social perspective to personal health and finance, and now more recently, to their home and car. So, it is of little surprise that many may find the need to access or share corporate data at any given point in time and from any location. The millennial workforce lives a connected life, it makes sense that so they can keep innovating and producing.

In recent years, 'Bring Your Own Device' (also known as BYOD) in the workplace has quickly grown in its use. One example of the future of that growth is based on a recent prediction by Gartner. They estimate that by 2017, just over half of global companies will go as far as making it a requirement that employees bring their own devices. As a result of the BYOD shift, employers face the challenge of maintaining data security in the workplace. At the same, time there are conflicting feelings on the blurring of corporate-personal data usage, as many companies, particularly in the UK, have banned BYOD due to security concerns.

Preparing a business for the future is critical, but understandably, security must never be compromised. The ease and convenience of BYOD makes sense under the right circumstances, and ultimately when approached correctly, mobility can be made safe whilst also continuing to enhance productivity through effective management.

Managing mobility

Managing mobility is a complicated but important process. Productivity and security are both critical to business success. The reputational damage that follows a data breach can pose a significant roadblock for an affected business to maintain or recover their sales or attract new customers. The public perception of a business dealing with the aftermath of a data breach is never good. Especially following what the general public may have perceived as a preventable data breach, companies need to repair their damaged reputations — a significant challenge if the usual media circus has surrounded the event.

To effectively manage mobility, increase productivity, and maintain security, IT managers should employ an enterprise mobility management strategy. With an effective mobility strategy, an organisation can safeguard mobile productivity and network security, whilst adding value to business objectives.

The challenge with implementing an enterprise mobility management strategy is working out where the potential gaps in security could exist. The aim is to make security an integral but unobtrusive aspect of employees’ interactions with work. Ultimately, if someone desperately wants to cause a breach, there is little an organisation can do to prevent it. Rather, mobile management strategies should be used to ensure employees have the tools required to safely transfer and access information without hindering productivity.

Start with data

Enterprise mobility management should start with the data. Users need to be able to access secure information externally, but that doesn’t always mean it needs to be held outside the borders of the firewall. Organisations with IT based on premises can use a file synchronisation solution to provide users with the ability to share and access corporate data anytime on any device, whilst giving IT the administrative oversight, control, and security necessary to keep users and corporate assets safe.

The next step should be to examine the file transfer mechanism to ensure data is being moved into and outside of the organisation securely and easily. The same security protocols that you might have on an internal email tool should also be applied to mobile. Combining these tools with mobile software developed to hold employee data, can help to ensure IT departments have oversight of data, and it remains safely within an enterprise, despite also being accessible via mobile. Mobile- and web-based transfer tools can help enterprises to achieve effective mobility management that enhance security whilst maintaining productivity.

With so many employees on the go, and a demand from the new millennial workforce for more flexibility, enabling some levels of mobile engagement is essential to future success. Mobile workforces have become such an inherent part of the business world, organisations can’t simply ignore the growing number of means to effectively secure them. Mobility and BYOD can, however, be made to minimise potential risks. Organisations simply need to adopt the right tools and policies to make the technology as secure as possible. You wouldn’t provide your employees with a new laptop without any security tools on it. The same must be true of mobile.

Peter Merkulov, Vice President of Product Strategy and Technology Alliances at Globalscape