When you think about how you use your mobile devices for personal use, it’s easy to understand how smartphones and tablets can benefit a small-to-midsize business (SMB). The same kind of enhanced communication, responsiveness and flexibility that we enjoy outside of the office can improve how a SMB does business.
The average person looks at their smartphone several times per hour or more. In fact, most people never let their device leave their sight. As a result, SMBs that leverage mobility ensure that important company data and the ability to communicate with clients and coworkers are always at their employees’ fingertips, whether they’re having lunch, working from home or picking up dry cleaning.
The “always on” capability of mobile enhances productivity by enabling anytime, anywhere access to data and faster, more effective collaboration and decision-making, which accelerate customer response times from hours or days to minutes or seconds. Customers feel comfortable with your organization because you create the perception that you’re always there for them with answers to their questions and solutions to their problems.
More and more SMBs are implementing a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) strategy in which employees are allowed to use their own smartphones and tablets to perform work-related duties and access company data and applications. This reduces costs for organizations and enables employees to use familiar devices that they like and understand while enjoying the benefits mentioned previously.
However, SMBs that take a BYOD approach without developing a formal policy are simply creating unlocked doors that cybercriminals can use to enter the corporate network, steal sensitive corporate and customer data, or even knock the entire network out of commission. Performance issues are common when organizations haven’t sufficiently assessed their network’s mobile readiness.
Before you dive headfirst into mobile, especially a BYOD strategy, there are certain factors you need to consider.
Will your existing infrastructure support mobile access to the company network? If so, does your network have the bandwidth to support the dramatic increase in traffic? How will you ensure optimal network performance?
How will you secure employee smartphones and tablets, as well as the data accessed through those devices? How will users and devices be monitored? What is your plan for educating employees about keeping both devices and the network secure? What will you do if a security breach occurs?
In a future post, we’ll discuss what steps you can take to effectively manage a BYOD environment while keeping your network secure.