As an MSP, does the following scenario sound familiar to you?
A customer (say a small financial institution) calls you to report that one their employees lost a tablet that was used to access sensitive customer information. They are unsure if that information is protected and are now worried about the repercussions if that information is compromised. HELP!
This is a fairly common scenario owing to the proliferation of mobile devices at workplaces. These are powerful computing devices that need management. In this post, let’s discuss the mobility trend and why mobility management is important for Small and Medium-sized Businesses (SMBs)–the typical customers of an MSP.
Growth and Adoption of Mobility
We have entered the era of the mobile workforce where mobile devices are significant portals for employees to access business information. Based on IDC’s projections1, by 2018, around one billion mobile devices will have access to business emails, apps, internal applications, etc.
This mobile adoption is not limited to large enterprises. SMBs are readily adopting mobility through BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) programs where employees use personal devices to access work-related data.
Source: State of IT Report – 2014 – Spiceworks – Voice-of-IT (www.spiceworks.com/voice-of-it)
Benefits of Mobility Adoption
First, let’s look at the key business benefits driving this mobility adoption:
- Managing Millennials in Workforce
Millennials, being the young, tech savvy generation, are bringing the latest, personal devices and apps to the workplace. They expect the mobile technologies of their choice to be accommodated at their workplace in order to do their jobs better. To attract and retain millennial talent, companies need to embrace the mobility trend.
- Driving Productivity and Satisfaction
With business information available at their fingertips, employees are able to do their jobs more effectively, boosting their productivity and job satisfaction. Further, the freedom to use devices of their own choice, which are often more modern and powerful than those provided by companies, is very empowering for the employees.
- Increasing Business Competitiveness
By enabling mobile access to business information, companies can be more agile and responsive to service their customers and respond effectively to any competitive situation. This helps companies to close business faster and drive greater customer satisfaction, thus building a sustainable competitive edge.
- Lowering Costs
Mobility adoption is the quickest and most affordable way for companies to enable a nimble workforce that fosters real-time employee collaboration and greater business efficiency. BYOD programs, in particular, ensure great savings on costs of devices and mobile plans.
These benefits are very compelling for businesses to embrace mobility—especially the BYOD programs. However, supporting mobility/BYOD programs does not mean that these businesses actively manage the devices or the business information accessed on them. The cost and complexity of mobility management solutions are the primary deterrents, especially for SMBs.
Need for Mobility Management
So why should companies worry about mobility management? Why not just turn on the mobile access and leave it at that? The simple answer is “Security and Compliance” that brings up critical issues when companies enable mobile access to their business information. For compliance with industry regulations such as HIPAA, PCI, FIPS-140, etc. businesses must be able to control what information is accessible on mobile devices and by whom. In addition to tracking device ownerships, businesses also need to protect against data breaches through malware, data leakage, and unauthorized access on these devices. SMBs can easily achieve this security and protection through Managed Mobility Services from their MSPs.
For SMBs, the cost of not doing mobility management is very high and potentially catastrophic. A recent study showed that 60% of small businesses fail within first 6 months of a data breach attack2. In my next post, I will elaborate on the mobile security landscape and the economic impacts of data breach that could drive SMBs out of business. Stay tuned!
This post is first in the series of blogposts discussing “Managed Mobility Services” as the emerging revenue frontier for MSPs. For all the blog posts in this series, click here.
- IDC: http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS24716914 and http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=249178
- Protecting Small Businesses Against Emerging and Complex Cyber-Attacks
Author: Varun Taware