The vast majority of us now own mobile devices, with tablet PCs being the tool of choice for many office workers. Inevitably this means people bring their devices to the office, blurring the line between work and leisure.
While this is convenient for the employees, it presents challenges for the business. Opening up a corporate network is considered risky at the best of times, and the addition of unsecured, unencrypted mobile devices make the situation even more undesirable. When a business counts its data as its best asset, the reluctance is understandable.
Bring Your Own
Instead of allowing workers to use devices without restriction, businesses have come up with a way to formalise the whole thing. Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD, is a flexible policy that permits different types of personal devices to be used, providing certain prerequisites are met. Similarly, there’s BYOC – Bring Your Own Computer – where employees can order a laptop within a predefined budget.
Bring Your Own policies prove an interesting point about the modern workplace. Businesses are continually applying more and more rules, policies and restrictions to lock down the network. But users are finding this difficult to reconcile with the demands of their job. Bring Your Own is the awkward halfway house between corporate security and user freedom. And the users have more faith in third party services than the business.
The Problem With Email
The main problem users have is email. Many of us will add a work email account to our mobile device for convenience, but this is the kind of convenience that business is not particularly ready for. In addition, users’ expectations of email have changed, mostly thanks to modern cloud infrastructure supporting services like Gmail.
Users now expect email to support their lives, rather than presenting obstacles, and one of the main obstacles to productivity is mailbox size. In a Mimecast survey, more than half of the respondents said that they are frustrated by their work email accounts, with mailbox size being a prime cause for complaint.
So while email is vital for work communications, businesses are having a tough time keeping up with the crowd.
Head In the Cloud
The reason our mobile devices work so well is because they tap into the power of the cloud. All over the world, websites use an elastic, flexible cloud infrastructure to provide masses of storage and phenomenal reliability.
Google changed the game with the launch of Gmail in 2004; its 1 GB of storage seemed like a vast vault that every user would struggle to fill. Now, in 2014, Gmail users benefit from 15 GB – and the allocation is still growing.
Businesses must rethink the way they support mobile devices. They must come up with more modern security solutions to allow workers a degree of autonomy. And businesses must also virtualize their data centres, using cloud computing for work communications. Only then will employees feel secure in the services available, and only then will they quit using third party email services to fill the gap.