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Remote working is no longer a remote concept

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14th Jul 2014
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Mobile working and BYOD offer huge advantages to both employer and employee, but organisations must ensure security is maintained, says David Rosewell.

Mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, have revolutionised the way we work and how we use technology in the workplace. Increasingly more employees are using these devices in the office, or are using them remotely to access corporate information, and mobile workforces are becoming increasingly common.

The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend has helped drive this change and has had a huge impact, not only on employee productivity and morale, but also on collaboration and mobility. The modern workplace is no longer office based, meaning employees can work from anywhere, be it at home or whilst travelling, via their mobile devices.

Cultural benefits

Being mobile, and not being tethered to a desk, location or device has significant benefits, not only for personal productivity and morale, but for a company’s culture. Mobility is a huge motivator for employees as it puts them in control of their own work practices. It also strengthens the employer/employee relationship – thereby empowering the workforce. Employees who are given the freedom to choose their own working practices give more hours of productive time to the business and feel more satisfied by their work-life balance.

The nine to five office job is an increasingly outdated concept, and organisations that successfully adopt remote working strategies will embrace new business opportunities. The office of the future can be situated anywhere as long as the employee has access to the applications and data they need to be productive.

BYOD is often initiated because employees experience frustration with inflexible IT policies which they perceive as being “one size fits nobody”. As a result users adopt the line of least resistance to get the job done with the tools that they need; and bring their own device into the workplace.

Business security

This consumerisation of IT is not without its challenges and adoption of BYOD puts pressure on CIOs to ensure flexibility for the workforce, along with security for the business.

Furthermore, public sector organisations and financial services companies have particularly high security requirements and take the management of mobile devices very seriously.

Smart companies are turning to enterprise mobility management (EMM) solutions. Having an EMM strategy in place empowers companies by giving them the comfort to allow employees to use their own mobile devices to access corporate data, whilst maintaining security and compliance with legislation.

This also means that IT departments can implement measures if a device is lost or stolen; allowing it to be decommissioned remotely. This can either be a full wipe of the device or selective, thereby removing corporate data and leaving personal data behind.

Remote working and BYOD adoption is only set to grow, as is the penetration of consumer technology in the enterprise. Businesses will therefore have their hands forced in creating internal policies that facilitate mobility strategies. Organisations that are yet to adopt this flexible approach will need to take the cultural considerations just as seriously as the technical ones. It’s not a question of if mobile strategies will become crucial to business strategy; it’s a matter of when.

David Rosewell is Head of Mobile Business Solutions at Fujitsu UK & Ireland.
 

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