Safeguarding mobile security while keeping employees happy
With an increasing amount of the UK workforce going mobile – both in terms of their working device and location – there has never been more of a concern regarding the protection of company data. As Microsoft state, “flexibility is important, but security is essential”. While organisations strive to meet the desires and requirements of their staff, can it ever be at the expense of data security?
The answer to the question is not as simple as deciding which is more of an important asset – your staff or your company data – as, ultimately, an organisation is worthless without either. Luckily, there is no need to have to answer that question. An organisation’s priorities should be to keep their data protected and secure while ensuring their employees are happy and largely unaffected by safeguarding measures. Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility Suite ensures that employees can work on any device in any place with the same security as if they were sat in their office with their work-provided device.
Keeping Employees Happy
Much has been made of the positive correlation between happiness among your workforce and their productivity. Many organisations have conducted extensive research and experiments on productivity while also spending large sums of money in the process, it has been discovered that the ‘secret’ is to keep your staff happy.
A study by economists at the University of Warwick found that happy staff can be up to 12% more productive whereas staff that are unhappy can be less productive by 10%. One of the Professors leading the research, Dr. Daniel Sgroi, concluded that “the driving force seems to be that happier workers use the time they have more effectively, increasing the pace at which they can work without sacrificing quality.”
It is easy to say that you should keep your employees happy, but how do you do it?
Microsoft’s Chief Envisioning Officer, Dave Coplin, stated that “people don’t need to be shackled to their desks to be productive or to collaborate with their colleagues. Work should be a thing you do not a place you go.” This is supported by a Microsoft study of 1,000 British workers which found that 80% of employees at SMEs who had requested flexible working arrangements claimed that it had a positive influence on their work. 33% of these workers felt that fewer distractions aided their productivity, and this clearly demonstrates how flexible working can be beneficial to employers as well as employees.
This is supported by a Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) study which found that 92% of the 1,272 British workers that they surveyed believed that their time management would be more effective, should they be able to have flexible working arrangements. This provides another clear benefit to employers as it would ensure that their employees were more efficient in their working hours and thus would be able to allot more of their time to their work responsibilities.
Many employees see flexible approaches to working as an essential component of their working life. This goes hand in hand with being able to have full access to every resource that they otherwise would have had if they were in the office.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
In 2009, BlackBerry held close to a 50% market share in the smartphone space with a valuation of $55bn. They were very much leading a market in an era where accessing your email on-the-go was becoming mandatory. As the market has changed due to technological advancements at an ever-increasing speed, it became an ‘adapt or die’ situation for which BlackBerry failed to adapt. As a result of this, they saw their market share fall to less than 3% and eventually agreed to a $4.7bn takeover deal just four years later.
This is merely one example of the consumerisation of IT from the early-to-mid 2000s. Since that period, devices have continually become more technologically advanced. Prices have become cheaper and, perhaps most importantly, consumers have more choice and variety than ever. While this is great news for consumers, it has created a headache for many of their employers. Organisations everywhere now face the perceived problem of employees becoming disgruntled with their company-issued devices as a result of a preference for their own personal devices.
Since 2012, BYOD has been a buzzword. Yet, it has remained more than just a fad. To reflect this, the level of searches online for BYOD has had a somewhat steep rise:
Nearly all employees are, at least, provided with a laptop or desktop computer at their place of work. Yet, gone are the days where employees work on merely one device; research by Gartner has led them to expect “mature market users to use three to four personal devices” by 2018. In addition, an Intel Security study found that “78% of UK professionals now use their personal devices for work-related activities”, while 57% of IT managers believe employees are doing this without consent. Yet, RapidScale research discovered that “60% of organisations already have mobility policies in place” in order to support BYOD, displaying that many are embracing BYOD to at least some extent.
Analysis conducted by Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) revealed that an average BYOD user will save at least 37 minutes each week by using their own device. From the six countries analysed, the United States of America displayed the greatest benefit of BYOD policies, where their users saved 81 minutes per week on average. Across an organisation’s workforce, this saving in time per employee and their increased output could be extremely beneficial to them.
Have your flexible working and BYOD concerns eased
You would imagine that most organisations would do what they can to keep their employees happy if given the opportunity to. Equally, their security and their confidential data remains paramount to their business integrity. It is natural to be apprehensive at the idea of data being transported out of the workplace but, to an extent, they are almost powerless to stop it happening. Accenture’s Digital Consumer Survey 2016, which polled 28,000 consumers in 28 countries, revealed that 80% of consumers own a smartphone while research from Blue Hornet found that 67.2% of consumers use a smartphone to check their email. In addition, Osterman Research discovered that 61% of email users have admitted to sending unencrypted confidential information via email. This is just one example of the risks that organisations face when attempting to safeguard mobile security.
While those statistics are perhaps not entirely surprising, they should at least be concerning. Should data or even devices fall into the wrong hands, it could be lead to serious consequences for your organisation.
To summarise, organisations are following Microsoft’s lead in believing that “flexibility is important, but security is essential”. Many are searching for how they can maintain the highest levels of security without adversely affecting the operations of their employees. Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite provides exactly that for organisations over the world by providing solutions to meet the concerns surrounding safety of data and the ever-increasing mobility of today’s workforce – both in terms of device and location. EMS allows for employees to work on any device in any location while organisations can have the assurances that company data is always protected, recoverable and also removable should a device or file fall into the wrong hands. Not only does EMS prevent disruption to employees, it both aids their productivity and provides the flexibility that supports their happiness at work.
About the partner
New Signature (formerly Dot Net Solutions) are the UK’s leading Azure-focused partner and was Microsoft’s UK Partner of the Year 2014. We have been working with Azure since its inception and have delivered a number of its highest profile solutions across PaaS and IaaS. Our services span the complete set of Azure offerings.More content by this partner