Four Tips to Manage Employee Mobility and Security on the Road
Employee mobility is now critical for businesses to stay competitive. A Gallup poll found 43 percent of employees spent at least some time working remotely in 2016, The New York Times reports, while ITWeb notes that in-flight Wi-Fi adoption by major airlines is on the way up as bring-your-own-device trends continue to dominate the corporate world.
For businesses, this poses a dual challenge: How do IT departments empower staff to complete their work remotely without compromising network defenses? Consider these four tips to help companies streamline usability and enhance security.
1. Prioritize the End User
TechTarget puts it simply: End-user experience now shapes the future of mobile application development. Remote workers don’t just want a rehash of web applications on their smartphones and tablets — they want mobile-native versions that are easy to use and connect with specific services and networks. For example, if productivity apps aren’t able to pull data from CRM tools and HR systems, remote employees and C-suite executives who regularly travel may be frustrated by the sheer number of applications required to complete simple tasks. To resolve this issue, companies should invest in in-house developers who know the market or partner with third parties to develop mobile-first apps. They should also be prepared for the rise of augmented reality and other technologies that employees will soon expect as standard features.
2. Make Access Easy
It’s essential to provide employees with a simple way to access their corporate profile, collaborative documents and critical apps while they’re on the road. To do so without leaving corporate networks open to risk, businesses should opt for multifactor authentication systems that reduce the chance of malicious logins. For example, companies can combine usernames and passwords with USB tokens, biometric scans or geo-based questions that help match the user to the device location.
3. Find the Right Strategy
The most basic method to secure user devices across the network is mobile device management. This allows IT departments to register and then track devices across corporate systems. Through this method, companies can easily find lost devices or remotely wipe them. The downside is that employees may be unwilling to enroll their personal devices. Another option is mobile application management, which controls specific applications rather than devices at large, allowing IT to easily update, configure or remove apps as needed.
For many companies, however, the growing number of Internet of Things devices and multiple device platforms speaks to the need for unified end-point management (UEM) strategies, which allow IT departments to control everything from tablets to smartphones to desktops and connected devices. For this method to be effective, businesses must take the time to include employees in the rollout and adoption process so they know exactly what type of data is being collected and why, as well as what UEM means for their day-to-day mobile behavior.
4. Funnel User Functions
Want to support employee mobility without sacrificing security? Funnel common user functions into corporate-managed alternatives. Users are now tech-savvy enough that when they encounter technological roadblocks, they go looking for apps or services to self-solve their problems. This often means a trip to the app store, where employees may download applications that ask for broad permissions and device access, then agree to these terms because the app provides the exact function they need. Managed mobility services offer a solution to this issue by equipping companies to set up and manage corporate app stores, recommend apps to solve everyday issues, show users only apps they’re permitted to download and block apps that don’t meet security standards.
Better business outcomes now depend on improved employee mobility. Organizations must provide the tools employees want and the security C-suite executives need by addressing employee expectations, streamlining their access, implementing the right strategy and investing in corporate mobility services.