Enterprise mobility grows, but printing stays essential
By JP Lourens, Solutions Manager at Kyocera Document Solutions South Africa
Increasingly, South African businesses are catching up with the global trend of enterprise mobility, allowing employees to work remotely using cloud technology to collaborate from anywhere in the world via their laptops and mobile phones. Technology has not only minimised geographical restraints by allowing employees to collaborate across international boundaries, it has also enabled instant information at their fingertips.
By shifting away from the traditional business model and allowing employees flexibility in terms of where and how they work, companies are reaping the benefits of increased productivity, coupled with lower overheads.
Central to the success of remote working and collaboration is enterprise mobility management (EMM), which is a set of technologies and services designed to secure corporate data on employees’ mobile devices.
Working on the go
Many office workers today carry out a significant portion of their work on mobile devices away from their offices. There’s a growing willingness to work on the go with whatever device is at hand. Smartphones, tablets and other portable devices facilitate a rapid response to customer needs.
One area that many organisations neglect is secure, user-friendly access to printing for mobile employees to print out documents anytime and anywhere. It’s a relatively straightforward process, once companies fully understand it. The right mobility printing solution integrates with existing EMM systems, saving costs, maintaining security and business efficiency. Mobile printing is an important issue in the fast-moving digital world.
There may be a trend for organisations to move towards the paperless office concept, but it’s unusual for them to stop printing altogether. Despite important innovations such as mobile ECM platforms, there are still instances when print is the preferred option. To get the most out of their business mobility solutions, companies need to ensure that mobile workers enjoy the same privileges as office-based employees. Part of that is allowing them to securely print out important documents whenever and wherever they want, using mobile devices.
The two key dangers are:
- It’s a common practice to provide every mobile device access to the same network as an organisation’s office-based computers, where there is company sensitive data.
- The ability to print, without restrictions, so no permissions, no analytics and no rules for mobile devices is a recipe for disaster. It is best to have mobile printing jobs encrypted and stored on the approved printers system. The most convenient method of retrieval is using a QR code from the mobile device, but a badge swipe or a pin also works well.
To further secure the devices, and prevent mobile printing jobs from going through the public cloud, it’s possible to configure the hardware, data storage and network to stop unwanted guests accessing the network using private clouds and traditional data centres. Using an EMM solution on top of a traditional data centre, or private cloud, creates the highest level of security.
Affordable solutions are out there
These solutions don’t have to be expensive. There’s no need to invest in mobile-enabled printers, because mobile printing can be delivered to the existing fleet of printers. When a company’s EMM system is used, there’s no need to change network infrastructure to accommodate for a mobile-friendly workspace. The system is configured to support a full range of desktop, laptop and mobile devices.
Costs can be kept down, too, by making the system simple enough so that users can take charge of their own printer access. Most mobile device users are pretty savvy when it comes to understanding new apps. The user-facing part consists of an integration into the print dialogue provided by iOS, or Android, and an app to connect to various printers on the network. Avoiding time-wasting calls to the IT help desk should be a priority for all companies. With a well-designed solution, the IT department would set the access privileges and the users would do the rest.
Secure and user-friendly options exist
Business mobility solutions are about increasing efficiency by speeding up response times. They are also about reducing costs. Mobile devices are more affordable than desktop computers, or laptops, so most organisations are happy for employees to use them. Although they will never be used for everything, iPads have evolved and split-screen technology is now available, making them suitable for a wider range of jobs.
Meanwhile, printing continues to be important for most organisations despite the move towards paperless offices. No one knows what will happen in two decades, but for now, enabling mobile devices to print in a secure and user-friendly fashion is an integral part of establishing the best possible business mobility solution.