When was the last time you checked your work email on your work computer? When was the last time you checked your work email on a personal device? For many employees, the distinction between work device and personal device continues to blur and as a result, IT departments are forced to take on different roles as they face new, increasingly complex, challenges.
Personal mobile devices are the new norm with 2 billion smartphones estimated to be in use globally by the end of 2015. This vast number displays the obvious incorporation of personal devices into the workforce. The traditional IT department has already begun evolving and focus has shifted from troubleshooting to security and data protection.
IT administrators need to take on new roles in order to meet the demands and challenges of this new era. An era where sensitive documents are stored in the cloud and employees elect to conduct work tasks on their personal devices. We focus on three roles as we move towards IT consumerization.
Visibility has become increasingly more difficult to produce with the use of personal devices and cloud computing. More than half of US businesses utilize cloud computing, and this number will only continue to grow. To combat the lack of visibility, businesses must now adopt proactive monitoring. Proactive monitoring is necessary for a business to see every aspect of its performance from all its employees, under this new era of cloud computing.
Using cloud computing for data storage, it is much more difficult to track its whereabouts, and more difficult to ensure its security. However, when proactive measures are taken, monitoring can reduce costs, mitigate risks, and ultimately support optimal business performance.
2. Setting up and Implementing New Policies
Traditionally, data was only accessible through the office, but now, data is shared through cloud computing systems, personal devices, and across hundreds of interfaces.
To adapt to this change in data sharing, a business must look to policies that account for the new trend in BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). Over 79% of employees use their personal devices for work-related purposes, and that number is only going to increase. BYOD promotes collaborative work and enhanced productivity, but guidelines must be set for such device use in order to ensure security of data.
Such policies can include:
- limited access to certain websites/domains
- restrictions to specific apps
- subject employees to personal device security measures
Using personal devices for both personal and work-related use opens the door to cyber criminality through malware, theft of devices, unsecure apps, etc. A business must be prepared to combat these threats by instituting strict policies. Though personal device use may present some risks, their increased use has lead to greater innovation, collaboration, and improved productivity.
Another form of data sharing, outside of the business itself, is that of sharing with vendors/other corporations. To protect sensitive documents from winding up in the wrong hands, IRM (Information Rights Management) products should be adopted. IRM ensures sensitive information is kept safe while sharing files and data with others. With IRM, a business can prevent an individual from saving and/or printing a shared file – it gives limited (or completely restricted) access to shared data.
Implementing BYOD and IRM within your business structure requires more regulation on how data and files are shared within the cloud and on personal devices. However, the compliance of your employees to these new policies will guarantee greater safety.
3. Supporting a Mobile Workforce
A mobile workforce provides the ability to support personal mobile phones, tablets, and PCs. Employees are not tied to one workplace, but instead are working from home, around the globe, in different timezones. This affords virtual 24/7 support in which IT teams must be available anytime, anywhere.
A mobile workforce provides greater flexibility and reduced expenses. By incorporating MDM (mobile device management) products, a business can ensure safety of data all while relying on the use of personal devices.
The three roles of transitioning towards IT consumerization include monitoring, the implementation of new policies, and offering a mobile workforce. By adopting such programs and policies, businesses can operate through cloud computing systems and afford the use of personal devices to their employees.