The Mobile World
By Mike Cross, Vice President, Ascentis
Today’s workforce is armed with laptops, iPhones, iPads, BlackBerries … all good devices to make sure you’re there even when you’re not there. Volcano got you down? No problem! Fire up your hologram projector and beam yourself into the meeting. Okay, we’re not doing holograms on that scale (yet,) but high-speed mobile access is becoming more common and available in more and more places.
But look at all those devices running amok. How much control does your company place on mobile access? Some would just say to ban all those devices. They’re too big of a threat to internal security if someone can walk away with data on their iPod. But ever since the dawn of the personal computer, we’ve had removable media (cassette-tape, 5 ¼” Floppy, 3 ½” Floppy), and now we have the ubiquitous thumb-drive. So the portable nature of data has always been there. It’s just on a grander scale now.
Consider enterprise-level tools for the mobile workforce. RIM Corporation has been on the enterprise scope for several years with their BES (Blackberry Enterprise Server). But did you know Apple provides Enterprise support for the iPhone? Check out their guide here as well as other resources on the Apple Web site. And it’s important to properly educate yourself and your staff on proper mobile device use. Always have a password set to unlock the device. And with an enterprise solution, you can immediately remove access to email messages if someone loses their phone.
Set a policy about the types of portable data your employees are allowed to take offsite using portable devices. A good rule of thumb is “no confidential information is stored on anyone’s laptop, thumb drive or other portable device.” Set-up a secure portal for access to such data, such as SharePoint or another secure-access service.
The upside of the mobile revolution is access-on-the-go. With the demands of today’s businesses, its workers need to have the flexibility to be connected when they’re otherwise counting ceiling tiles in the airport or caught in the endless lines at the DMV. Since mobile Web-browsers are able to securely Web sites, including workforce management sites, even busy HR managers can handle tasks when they’re not at their desks.