Mobile Connectivity in the Workplace

One of my responsibilities at Clio is to manage the IT needs of this fast growing startup. We are always looking at ways to manage the technology coming into offices now. With the concept of the cloud and mobile connectivity, technology is racing ahead. I recently went to a seminar hosted by one of the larger Internet service providers in the area. They brought up some great statistics regarding mobile connectivity and devices in the workplace, including:

  • 2/3 of the workforce will own smartphones by 2016 – Gartner
  • 14 million Canadian workers will be fully mobile by 2015 – IDC
  • 57% of workers use social media for business purpose at least once per week – IDC
  • 50% of CIOs expect to operate applications via the cloud by 2015 – Gartner
  • 3 of the top 10 CIO business priorities in 2013 are reducing costs, increasing growth and driving innovation – Gartner

Working in a technology startup like Clio, this is already apparent and is obvious to me that this is the way business is heading. While this presentation was going on, I sat there thinking that we probably don’t even need to wait that long before those stats come true. Clio is on the forefront of this change and we empower small firm lawyers to reduce costs and to innovate with new ways to do business. Gone are the days of big firms and lawyers only working from their offices. As students graduate from law school, they are finding it much tougher to go out to see clients, attend court and even to run errands throughout the day and not have access to case and client information. Many new graduates have started their own firms, and as a small business owner, you lack the luxury of not being mobile.

The seminar itself was to promote a new service which helps us IT departments manage the wide range of devices that employees are now bringing into the workplace. This covers but is not limited to iPhones, Android smartphones, iPads, tablets, personal laptops and just about anything that connects to the network and to the Internet. One of the major concerns raised was security, which is a concern raised by our users as well. As people turn towards cloud computing services for everything from banking to communications to entertaining and games, increased access and connectivity also means that there is more risk security wise. Security risks include the chance that someone can intercept the data that is going back and forth between their device and the cloud service and also the possibility of misplacing their device and having someone access that data on it.

I think it all comes down to knowledge. Informed decisions when looking at choosing services is a big issue, each provider has different security precautions set up and it is always smart to know what you are paying for. Things to look at include:

  • The service’s security policy and the encryption levels of their data.
  • Terms of service and privacy policies.
  • Ensure that data is protected both physically and electronically.
  • Make sure there are backups and that the servers are located in secure locations.

Mobility is a trend that isn’t going away and is unavoidable. It all comes down to how prepared you are to accept this change and to embrace it. Like many of us, we are afraid of change but with proper education and training, these changes will greatly benefit your business and personal lives.

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