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Why mobile network connectivity in the office is so important

With BYOD being one of the most talked about topics of 2014 I thought it was high time I spoke to mobility expert Art King, director of enterprise services and technologies at SpiderCloud Wireless all about mobility and mobile networks. In this interview we discuss some shocking statistics around mobile networks, why businesses should focus less on Wi-Fi, and how to effectively use mobile networks in your office.

A recent YouGov study found that 74 per cent of workers would change their mobile network to improve the signal they get in their office.

At a desk, most workers already have access to the Internet via their desktop and the ability to call using their desk phone, so why the demand for mobile network coverage?

In many office sites, the workers are highly mobile and spend little time at their assigned workspace. For those that spend a majority of time with their colleagues in conference rooms and other work spaces, they are seeking to have their personal communications services integrated and functional in the mobile device they carry.

With BYOD becoming an unavoidable trend many businesses are struggling to provide adequate Wi-Fi connections, when should businesses prioritise resources to improve the mobile coverage and when should it focus on Wi-Fi? Similarly, what are the advantages and disadvantages of focusing on Wi-Fi vs. mobile coverage?

In the majority of cases, the mobile operator is funding the coverage improvement to their customers. There is no contention for funding to improve Wi-Fi.

Also, many enterprises don’t want the mobile device workload on Wi-Fi and you will also find mobile device owners are turning off Wi-Fi when they get to office to avoid the enterprise firewall.

There are functional issues with enterprise firewalls negatively affecting mobile device Apps and Services. This can occur by policy or that the firewall itself does not effectively support mobile device traffic flows generated by mobile Apps and Services partially due to the original DNA of “built for Windows”.

Wi-Fi routers and wireless access points are often one of the most vulnerable elements of an office space. What are the security risks of using a mobile network (like 4G) to transfer data, how easily can the mobile network be hacked?

Mobile networks have a higher level of security than Wi-Fi because of authentication of SIM before the device can join the network. The revenue assurance functions within mobile operators that protect from theft of service can be directly thought of as a security control.

The security risks of using a mobile network to transfer data are relatively low when compared to other points that hackers might use. Low hanging fruit for attackers tends to be spear-phishing emails and other exploits that compromise a system much easier than hacking encryption to see data flows.

What is the best use case for a mobile network in the office

The mobile network is primed to be the perfect vehicle for enterprise customers to have access to the next generation of cloud services and apps to add value to their business, help to improve workforce productivity and improve the overall user experience.

Whether these are core security functions like MDM or support for BYOD management to providing access to location and context-aware apps and services, virtual IP-PBX services, or easier access to IT-approved and supported apps, the potential will be realized in the near future with improved indoor coverage across the campus. These can easily be accessed from mobile devices wherever they are within the corporate campus, taking unnecessary traffic off the Wi-Fi and other internal networks.

Thanks to Art for chatting to us, you can follow him on Twitter @ArtKingg