The Rise of Mobility in Small Business

By Jill Billhorn

In today’s mobile world, almost all day-to-day tasks can be completed on a smartphone.  Grocery shopping, bank deposits, weather, traffic and news are all available at the touch of a button – and  employees, of both big and small companies, have grown to expect that same anytime, anywhere access with work resources. 

Mobilizing your workforce is critical not only for employee satisfaction and productivity, but also for your organization’s bottom line.  Small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) everywhere are revamping business models to empower employees through mobile solutions.    

Like any technology trend, mobility has its challenges.  Allowing employees to access your small business network via mobile devices, like smartphones and tablets, requires enhanced security provisions, increased management and new mobile device policies. 

Don’t let these concerns prevent your small business from harnessing the benefits of a mobilized workforce.  Instituting a few best practices allows your organization to take advantage of all that mobility has to offer.

4 Things to Consider Before Going Mobile

1. Set Sensible Goals

To get the most out of mobile solutions, small businesses must focus on setting realistic goals.  Don’t try to take on too much at once – look for specific ways that mobile solutions might boost your business, and focus your energy there.  Can your employees help more customers if they can work from home?  Will more collaboration lead to better and faster results, even when employees are en route between appointments? 

If you aren’t clear about the best way to leverage mobility for your business, try discussing your ideas with a trusted small business IT provider that can offer guidance on how to maximize your benefits    

2. Secure Mobile Devices

When employees access your network via laptops, tablets or smartphones, a layered security strategy is imperative.  Require all mobile devices that access your network – company-owned and employee-owned – to be password protected, encrypted and make sure to require multi-factor authentication. 

Consistent data backup and restores are especially important, and the capability to remotely lock or wipe a company-owned device will provide maximum mobile security.  It’s also important to educate employees on security strategies, so they are aware of what could lead to a security breach

3. Assess Your Mobile Readiness

Small business owners and managers should take steps to anticipate employees’ mobile requests.  Is your organization able to provide mobile access to its network?  Does your IT staff have the tools it needs to address security regulations?  Is your infrastructure capable of handling the increased bandwidth that mobile access requires?  Will employees have seamless access to remote data when they need it? 

Cloud computing may help with the last question.  Remotely storing your data in the cloud lets employees access data from multiple devices, and it can alleviate strain on small business IT managers by simplifying the management process

4. Share and Store Information Safely

One of the greatest benefits of mobility is increased collaboration and communication.  Shared calendars and files ease the collaboration process, but employees also need to keep tabs on where they store organizational data on their personal devices.  

If that device is lost or stolen, employees risk not only their personal information, but also the organization’s data.  Take the time to educate your employees about what to store on a mobile device. That will protect your organization should that device fall into the wrong hands.

Joining the mobility movement can help your business attract top talent while increasing overall productivity.  With the help of these best practices, mobilizing your workforce can be easier, faster and more secure than ever before.

Jill Billhorn is the vice president of small business at CDW.

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