Think how much has changed in the past 20 years. The Internet went from dial-up to broadband. Cellular networks have brought computing to more people through the use of computers that fit in your pocket. These mobile devices have changed the way that we communicate, changed the way business works, and changed the way we go about our daily lives. Let’s talk about how mobile is the predominant type of computing being used in society today.
Why Do People Prefer Mobile?
It’s a simple question with a pretty simple answer. You can take these devices nearly anywhere and can do a lot of the things you can do on a PC. If you consider the importance of content delivery nowadays, these devices probably hold more value for businesses than any other devices in history.
Additionally, think about the amount of applications in the app stores…nearly two million in the Apple App Store and nearly three million in the Google Play Store. That’s a lot of software available for what is supposed to be a telephone. There are productivity apps, communication apps, banking and shopping apps. In fact, if you really think about it, you can do about anything you need to do—computing-wise—on a smartphone today. This has created a massive online economy that checks in at around $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Overall, the mobile device has been a major reason that there has been such a massive shift in the way people do things.
Mobile computing has been extraordinarily useful for a long time, but the advent of the smartphone in the mid-2000s really changed the way people handle their computing. The development of apps that were specifically designed for mobile devices expanded business’ reach and gave consumers a new way to interface with their companies.
Then came social media.
Social media might just be the biggest driving force in mobile. People of all ages use social media proficiently nowadays. In fact, in the workplace this has been seen as both a major distraction and a massive benefit. There are many different facets to social media, but ultimately the massive popularity of social media has resulted in the acceptance that mobile devices are here to stay and that fighting back about mobile device use is a futile experience. This is one reason why businesses have chosen to utilize mobile rather than stymie the use of it.
Another factor in the growth of mobile for business is the development of applications that work both on PC and on mobile. These applications make it possible to do a lot of things that simply weren’t possible only a few short years ago. Even the most anti-mobile business owner can’t deny that it is arguably the best platform for communications. Not only is it a phone, there are literally thousands of productivity and communication apps to choose from. In fact, some applications that are designed for use on mobile devices have factored this in and allow for interesting integrations that can streamline a lot of business processes.
Email, conferencing, messaging, collaboration apps, analytics, authentication, even productivity apps are optimized for mobile devices and can bring a lot of value to businesses. What’s more, mobile marketing is one of the fastest-growing forms of advertising out there. Taking advantage of that is in the best interest of most small and medium-sized businesses.
If you haven’t seen the demand yet, you aren’t alone. Many smaller organizations have reported that their customers haven’t shown a demand for mobile communications or payment options. Until they see customer demand increase, using mobile for business may not seem like a priority. It absolutely should be. If you are looking to leverage mobile technology to improve your business, you need to start by understanding the risks first. Just like any other computing platform, there are security risks that come from utilizing mobile solutions and you should address them before you go any further.
Most businesses, especially those operating as an SMB, aren’t going to have the capital to just hand out mobile devices and data plans to their staff. Besides, what’s the point? Most people want to use their personal devices for work now anyway. If your company is that fortunate, you probably already have a mobile device management (MDM) platform in place. For the average company that is looking to utilize mobile for productivity, they’ll need to use their employees’ devices.
By setting up a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy that uses MDM, security software, and solid procedure to allow your employees to use their own personal devices to access work-related applications and data, you are effectively getting the benefits of having a mobile workforce, without the huge expense that goes along with it. Some tips you should consider for a solid BYOD policy include:
- Devices should be protected by some type of screen lock, preferably biometric.
- Users allow IT access so that their work software is always patched and up to date.
- Separate personal and work applications and data.
- No jailbroken devices should be allowed.
These are only a few considerations in a larger issue. The BYOD policy is designed to protect your company’s digital resources and provide your employees access to them on their own phones. You may get some push-back from your staff at first, but ultimately by explaining that it is the best way for them to gain the flexibility of using their own device for work, most employees will come around pretty quickly.
If you would like more information about implementing BYOD policies, feel free to give us a call at (866) 572-2850.