Business

Tap P for productivity

Read time 4min 50sec

Much has been said about the fact that devices - the rampant range of smartphone, tablet, laptop and hybrid - add a much-needed layer of productivity to a workforce that's distracted and disengaged. A report released by the US Bureau of Labor in 2016 found that employees are less productive today than they were in the not so distant past. This is driven by the internet - 40% lost in productivity as 65% of employees use it for non-work purposes, and a lack of engagement - 70% of the US workforce doesn't really connect with their job.

So how does device management transcend these statistics?

"The majority of today's employees feel that their smartphone or tablet plays a critical role in business, allowing them to be more mobile and accessible," says Clayton Campbell, director, Onsite. "By using their personal device, the employee is already an expert and attaching business tools to that device creates an environment that is conducive to productivity."

The value to the enterprise is twofold. On the one hand, the employee is given the trust and capability they require to perform to their own timelines and standards, and on the other, the enterprise saves money as employees are more inclined to ensure they have the latest devices. An added bonus is that the employee doesn't need training on this new technology as they figure it out by themselves.

"Device proliferation also allows employees to work from anywhere while having the same secure access to apps and data, regardless of location or device," says Brendan McAravey, country manager, Citrix South Africa. "Today's business environment is not only dynamic, but also competitive, and retaining good talent is essential. This is also a big reason why enterprises are constantly looking to ensure that employees are provided with exciting new ways of doing business."

Devices can help people change the way they work as they support evolving workstyles and behaviours. Not everyone is cut out for the same routines, times and working environments so access to the right tools and technology can cater for these preferences without impacting on deliverables. This is further enhanced by cloud-based enterprise applications that can be used across device, station and location. Amazon Web Services, Office 365, DropBox - these are just some of the household names transforming mobility into productivity.

"Device proliferation is giving companies a competitive edge when it comes to their human resources," says Neil Cosser, Identity and Data Protection manager, Africa, Gemalto. "Businesses that adopt more flexible, mobile and remote work models are far more attractive to Gen X and Gen Y professionals."

A mistake in time

When it comes to implementing a robust mobile device management (MDM) strategy, there are some mistakes that the enterprise should avoid. They are common errors that creep in as the business gets bogged down in red tape and complex user scenarios.

"Business makes the common mistake of implementing unified endpoint management solutions, where all the devices are managed by a single management tool," says Onsite's director Clayton Campbell. "However, with Apple, Microsoft and Google pushing for unique experiences across each of their desktop and mobile platforms, this points at a unified endpoint management solution at odds with an interconnected platform model."

The business needs to focus on MDM solutions that are designed to manage specific platforms so each platform is looked after well and every user is given the best experience on their chosen device. It also needs to focus on a holistic solution to the device proliferation problem.

"A combination of advanced cyber security and Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) tools is the key to mitigating the risks that come with the multi-device culture, without taking away the benefits," says Jeremy Matthews, regional manager, Panda Security. "RMM solutions should be complemented with advanced security solutions using EDR (Endpoint Detection and Response) technology that effectively combats threats such as ransomware, APTs and zero-day attacks."

Security loopholes are a mistake that no business can afford to make today. According to Skycure, 21% of organisations have traced a data breach to their BYOD program and 24% found that employee-owned devices have spent some time being connected to malicious WiFi hotspots. Tenable's 2016 BYOD and Mobile Security Spotlight report introduces even more disturbing numbers - 38% of organisations had seen employees download malware at some point in the past. And in the same year, Checkpoint revealed that mobile malware had now become one of the most common attack types, citing Hummingbird, Triada and XcodGhost as among the leading culprits.

"Even with a BYOD policy in place, enterprises know that additional security is still needed," says Neil Cosser, Identity and Data Protection manager for Africa, Gemalto. "Data breaches are often perpetuated using hacked, stolen or recycled passwords and could easily be prevented by using two-factor authentication to secure access to their networks and applications. In this way, the `level of assurance that an individual is in fact who they claim to be is significantly increased, whether they are accessing corporate resources outside the corporate firewall, or accessing resources from their mobile devices'.

This article was first published in the November 2017 edition of ITWeb Brainstorm magazine. To read more, go to the Brainstorm website.

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