Bigger than the internet boom: 6 Ways To Prepare for the impact of Mobility | Top Stories
There is no denying that mobility is the new way of the business world. Of course, despite the fact that most professionals have had their own cell phones and laptops since the 90s, the adoption of mobile technology and remote work is still a struggle for most established employers and large enterprises. For years, “telecommuting” and “phoning it in” have been spoken with derision, often suggesting that employees who work out of the office and stay in contact through mobile technology, are not as dedicated or are somehow wasting company time by working anywhere other than the office.
Whether you are pitching mobility to your board of directors or responsible for integrating mobility into your existing business structure, there are a few things to always keep in mind. Let’s take a look at the primary ways you can prepare for a seamless integration of mobility into your organisation.
1. You Will Need to Build a Mobility Stack
There are dozens, if not hundreds, of viable software and device solutions available to the mobile workforce. In a mobile workplace, you are effectively opening up all or most of your workflow to remote access and collaboration. You will need to choose the best combination for your business and workflow.
They key is to construct a stack of technologies, from devices to applications to data integration, that work smoothly together and meet your business’s requirements. Simply integrating whatever looks good or comes at a reasonable price is never the way to go with any major technological upgrade to your business. Especially not one as big as mobility.
Your mobility stack will need to be effective, reliable, have good support from the creators to be sufficient for business use, not to mention cyber-secure. If you must adhere to certain regulations like HIPAA, PCI, or GDPR, your mobile software will need to adhere as well. Become familiar with the best software and device options for your industry to build a suitable mobility stack. Don’t forget to make sure to check with your technology-vendors if your technology choice is, in fact, able to fulfil all of your requirements.
2. Cybersecurity Training is Non-Optional
When employees can only access company data on local LAN-connected computers, only your local cybersecurity matters. However, mobility takes your data and makes it accessible from anywhere. There are many ways for hackers to access company data through a remote employee’s devices. They can read un-encrypted data as packets in-transit, hack local wifi networks or provide honey-trap networks, and exploit known security gaps in certain applications. However, it’s much easier for them to exploit accidental insecurity. This means that cybersecurity training is a must.
Employees need to know how to build secure passwords, how to avoid phishing, how to dodge trap wifi networks, and how to use the security features of their mobile work applications. They also need to keep a close eye on their mobile devices and purposefully log out of applications between use. The easiest way for an infiltrator to gain access is by stealing an employee’s phone who is auto-logged-in to work applications all the time.
3. Allow for Out-of-Hours Access to Mobile Platforms
Once you have a stable mobility infrastructure and have begun encouraging your employees to make use of it, a surprising amount of them will. When employees have insomnia, are travelling, or find themselves staying up with a sick baby, they will opt to log into the mobile business platform and get some work done. Business trips almost always have employees logging extra hours away from the office.
Your IT department can adapt to mobility by carefully managing when they run updates and make sure services are available. Updates, in particular, should be handled with care. An update happening over the weekend should either be very clearly announced for remote workers or rescheduled for a quieter weeknight.
4. Prepare for Lost-Device Disasters
Updating software and maintaining cybersecurity, are standard hassles for any business technology. But for mobility, the biggest problem is lost devices. And devices will get lost.
Whether you provide devices or encourage employees to BYOD (bring your own device), any device that has been lost, stolen, or broken poses a serious risk for your company: The risk of a non-employee gaining access to proprietary and private data. Through the auto-login or remember-me functions of the most modern software, a stranger holding your employee’s phone may be able to access everything the employee typically has access to. A bad situation.
The solution is two-fold. First, install device location tracking in each employee’s device to be activated in the event of a lost phone or tablet. This will help both with mishaps and petty crime. Second, install a kill-switch program that allows you to wipe all (or all work-related) data on each device on command. This provides additional security and keeps your data safe.
5. If Everything Isn’t on the Cloud Already, It Should Be
The one key integration step that a surprising number of businesses overlook is cloud access. Everything you have been storing and working on locally that you want to be accessible mobility will need to be shared on a cloud-based platform now. This is the only way that your remote and travelling employees will be able to access the data, files, projects, and tools that they would normally be working within the office.
From documents and paperwork to ongoing projects to your CRM database, everything that needs to be accessed out of the office will need to be hosted first. Fortunately, programs inside your chosen stack will usually come with directions on what to update and upload, and how to do it.
6. Open Up Your Hiring Strategies
An interesting final way that mobility impacts your business is in the War for Talent. In the last ten years (or more in some industries), it has been noted that there is a serious deficit of available skilled employees. It’s not that there are fewer skilled and experienced adults, exactly, but rather that the modern workforce has a new set of requirements from their employers: work-life balance.
Parents want more parent-friendly hours. Adventurous young professionals want opportunities to take working vacations. Some just want to work from home. Mobility in your business allows you to hire more flexible, including hiring top talent across the country without asking them to move or paying for relocation. Only mobile-ready companies are capable of providing the competitive edge to hire them. Mobility might just be the answer if you want expert programmers, marketers, and community managers that your competition can’t compete for.
Offering remote positions and flexible remote-optional schedules as part of your employee benefits can completely change the landscape of possible hires.
So will integrating mobility impact your business? Absolutely. Mobility is one of the biggest in a series of digital transformations modern companies go through. The reason businesses all over the world are clamouring for the mobility upgrade is because most of these changes are overwhelmingly beneficial. Now is the perfect time to begin to prepare for mobility by reinforcing your network, choosing your software, and starting the positive shift in your collaborative workflow.