Steps to back mobile workers urged
Dubai, November 12, 2013
Middle East IT managers must adopt modern data management measures to support mobile workforce as ‘bring-your-own-device’ (BYOD) gains momentum, said an expert.
Allen Mitchell, senior technical account manager, Mena at CommVault Systems stated that the new breed of mobile workers in the Middle East is now transforming the modern working environment. Armed with technologies that not only bring flexibility into their working day and improve productivity levels overall, they can now experience an enhanced work/life balance by being able to work anytime and anywhere.
Any early technological limitations on the emerging mobile worker have now largely been eliminated as broadband data speeds and wireless mobile connections have become widely available. Equally the range of mobile devices has expanded well beyond mobile phones and laptops to include PDAs, notebooks and now tablets.
Mobile initiatives are also being proactively put in place by many organisations and telecommuting, virtual workplaces, mobile and wireless computing are now common practice, for all employees at all levels.
Market research organisation IDC predicted in its report ‘Worldwide Mobile Worker Population, 2011-2015,’ that one-third of the global workforce would be mobile in just three years, with most significant gains coming from emerging economies such as the Middle East.
The rise of the BYOD movement not only confirmed that mobile employees expect to use the latest lightweight mobile devices to carry out both standard and complex computing activities, but that they also expect interactions with enterprise applications to replicate their experiences in the consumer world, said Mitchell.
Their growing familiarity with search engines and the ease with which business applications can be downloaded onto any mobile device has only raised expectations that they should be able to share, search and restore data instantly - without requiring IT assistance or third-party services, he said.
The challenge for the IT department, therefore, lies in its ability to protect the increasing amounts of data that is created by users outside of the enterprise while still meeting the demand for a mobile lifestyle. In a clear reversal of roles, instead of stipulating what systems and processes should be used by employees, IT professionals now need to provide services that deliver real value to the user.
For IT to regain and retain control of sensitive corporate data and safeguard assets from loss, destruction or damage, it has to embrace its role in enabling the productive, collaborative and secure self-service mobile computing environment that users now expect.
According to IDG Research Services, ‘76 per cent of organisations say secure access to company data from mobile devices is critical,’ which suggests that IT professionals need to address some fundamental issues if they want to protect data at the edge of the organisation.
The ability to search and retrieve data, immediately and without waiting for IT support, is also a must-have capability for employees who are increasingly expected to be able to refer to either historical data or the latest figures at a moment’s notice.
Given that 80 per cent of organisations report that IT spends a lot of time retrieving files for people, it’s also important that the IT department finds a new way to provide access to data in order to reduce pressure on the helpdesk and focus on strategic, long term projects.
The mobile workforce is undoubtedly calling for far more than the usual ‘insurance policy’ that traditional backup offered, combined with the often costly levels of storage that was needed for the vast amounts of data.
Most corporates will soon be relying on the IT department to transform essential data management tasks into something of real value. This, in turn, will empower users to turn raw data into information that can enable effective decision making at the edge of the enterprise. That’s something that every CIO should be comfortable investing in. - TradeArabia News Service