Over the last few years, the cloud services industry has experienced not only dramatic changes but dramatic growth. As IDC (International data Corporation) predicts, in 2014, even more businesses will become cloud adopters. The same cloud industry experts emphasise how technology development and the cloud has been reshaping the business strategies of many enterprises, SMEs as well as other organisations; and how important it is to adapt your business to constantly changing technology and market trends. All that so the needs of end-users of your products and services can be met quickly and effectively.
Buzzwords such as business mobility, BOYD (bring your own device) and the cloud are terms every business will now be familiar with but to various extent. For those who are not entirely sure how to achieve business mobility or what benefits it can have for business growth, this simple article will outline the significance of mobility and its benefits for businesses.
Business Mobility – different flavour for every business
Business Mobility has become a priority for companies of all different sizes and sector types and that is a fact. Citrix and Vanson Bourne conducted a study which grouped results from 17 countries, including the UK, and reports that almost 50% of businesses already have a mobility strategy in place. So companies that haven’t yet considered mobility through the cloud as a method of achieving improved flexibility, scalability and productivity, are giving away significant advantage to their more agile competitors.
Mobility though is a fairly universal word; it means something different and takes various forms according to the needs of each business. For some a tool enabling mobility might be a new CRM system, a hardware platform or devices, delivering service automation to a field force or just an app that allows a team to collaborate better. All or a combination of these services could provide the most effective mobility solution.
What are the reasons arguing for increase in business mobility adopters? For almost 30% of respondents of the research remote working was the number one reason for embracing business mobility but not the only one. Access to the corporate network, applications and information anywhere, was the motivation for enabling user mobility for more than 20% of respondents, remote access to desktop, applications and information for 16% of those surveyed and the ability to send and receive emails was a priority for 12% when making decisions in adapting the business, all of which improve the efficiency of collaboration resulting in productivity gains.
Virtualisation – Enabling business mobility
Of the many developments in enabling employee and business mobility, virtualisation certainly plays a critical role. Delivering such immense scope for enhancing business mobility, the challenge is to understand all the solutions the cloud offers through virtualisation and determine the most effective method of facilitating mobility fitting your particular requirements. The market for software and apps has been mushrooming in recent years because of the abilities virtualisation has brought about. Practically, all businesses will be using a variety of third-party software, much of which is online now, from Sage – accounting app, document sharing software, through to more bespoke apps and integrated software tailored specifically towards the particular needs of a sector or business.
These days, virtualisation is in use to allow the software vendors to provide their service reliably and cost effectively.
Whatever the app or niche software, from a business perspective, it is critical that it runs on chosen device, whether that’s a laptop, tablet, smartphone or commercial hardware such as rugged handhelds and PDA’s, working on a range of platforms including Windows, iOS and Android. The ultimate objective for the employees is to enhance mobility and remotely utilise necessary business applications and information anywhere as if sat at their desk. This scenario can be easily accomplished by a Hosted Virtual Desktop which allows hosting of all required apps and data securely via a two-factor secured login. As Citrix and Vanson Bourne pointed out, as many as 40% of businesses surveyed are achieving business mobility through desktop virtualisation and the same percentage will be supporting remote workers with file sharing and remote data storage.
Competitive Advantage – Agility, Mobility, Productivity
The aim is to make a business more agile, flexible in how and where it operates, reduce time and costs of winning and supporting customers and gain an advantage over the competition. Solutions including Hosted Virtual Desktops combined with advanced messaging and collaboration software like Hosted Lync 2013, SharePoint 2013 and Hosted Exchange email can significantly speed up task completion, improve the efficiency of communications and collaboration with colleagues, clients and partners, allowing to meet customers’ needs much faster. Files can be shared easily, for example with SharePoint or Lync, everything is secure and backed up instantly with access from anywhere. What your business gets is a faster, more efficient and agile business, naturally leading to competitive advantage.
BOYD – Like it or not, it’s here to stay
With an increasing number of companies empowering their employees to work on the device of their choice, from something as simple as configuring business email on their phones to accessing the remote desktop on their iPad or laptop, Bring Your Own Device scheme (BYOD) is now a daily reality.
Citrix and Vanson Bourne report that up to 90% of businesses allow some form of business mobility, and that over 40% allow employees to work remotely from the device of their personal choice. The phenomena of device freedom and the fact that BOYD is fast turning into into “bring your own everything” which, without specific policies in place, can significantly increase the chance of your business data being at risk.
With many concerns raised by CTO’s and IT managers surrounding the BOYD itself, businesses now have to try and mitigate the risks associated with employees bringing their own device on a daily basis to facilitate task completion. Although with the right policies in place certain risks can be diminished, we are still talking about a personal device holding business data and other intellectual property, so naturally, access to this need to be controlled and secure.
Many IT departments argue against limited control over access to applications and data security, data privacy breaches, employees with access to business data outside the office hours and difficulties in complying with regulations. And since the BOYD is here to stay, the risks associated with external devices cannot be underestimated and it is of paramount importance for businesses to secure all sensitive data without impeding employees’ productivity.
BOYD – Tackling IP leaks and data security
When a business decides to approve full BOYD scheme, then the cloud has some interesting solutions. For instance, if the users worked in a Hosted Desktop environment, this can be locked down in many ways including time of day access, specific device access and file download blocking, with sessions entered through a two-factor secured log in. The BOYD policy itself can also include installation of MDM (Mobile Device Management) software which can be used to lock down access to email or other elements outside the hours and places determined. MBM can even be used to remote wipe devices which could have been lost or stolen to protect IP from access by unauthorised individuals. All of this can be centrally managed by the IT department and improves the control that the business has over protection of its data and other IP.
Mobilise the business – It’s the way forward
Over a fairly short period, achieving secure mobility has become the number one priority for a number of IT departments. Realising the potential of flexible mobile working, the enhanced productivity and competitive advantage it brings, requirement of a modern and agile business itself has pushed companies across many industries to give employees that ability to work from anywhere at any time, with access to all the applications and information needed to communicate with colleagues, partners and vitally clients to speed up outcomes and service delivery. With end users being more mobile than ever before, businesses today simply cannot overlook the fact of mobility becoming a critical part of strategic orientation.
If you would like to know more about the cloud, virtualisation and mobility, please feel free to download our Cloud Computing for Business guide or drop us a quick message email@example.com