4 Challenges To Enabling A Mobile Workforce Have you wanted to transition to a mobile workforce, but found the road teeming with challenges and complications? The following Microsoft Business Blog covers three main issues that keep organizations from taking the leap to a mobile workforce, and how to overcome those challenges. In addition, I’ve found a fourth issue that I see organizations struggling with, and practical steps to simplify the process of supporting a mobile workforce. Your business may be small, but you want your customers to recognize you as a mighty force that can do anything that your larger competitors can do— and better. This often means that employees who are not specially-equipped for remote work need the capacity to handle company business away from the comfort of their in-office resources. When you run a small business, you probably hire employees who are capable of wearing many hats beyond their job definitions. They already have the skills and knowledge that you can count on at client sites — as long as they remain connected to company resources and information. This is when the right technology can help resolve four major challenges that can make or break mobile workforce effectiveness. 1. Managing a Variety of Devices and Applications. It makes little financial sense to purchase (and pay monthly bills for) company smart phones and tablets for employees who remain in the office more than they travel on company business. When they do go out, however, you can’t expect them to load their personal devices with company applications and data. Enter the cloud. Employees can use the same Microsoft Office 365 software in and out of the office. They have no concerns about company software and data encroaching on valuable space on their personal devices because the software runs from the cloud without requiring direct installation on remote devices. They also don’t need to load their devices with data because all work resides safely in the cloud, as well. 2. Retaining Consistent Security Standards Inside Your Office and Out. Employees who use devices connected to your network may have appropriately limited access to sensitive information that is also protected from viruses and hacking. But, what happens when they conduct business from personal devices? Individual security concerns might be handled in a haphazard fashion that can threaten your valuable company information. Since Microsoft uses the cloud to offer comprehensive Enterprise Mobility + Security, you have the tools in place to provide the right level of protection. Whether your employees are using Windows® 10 devices in the office or even when they’re using iOS or Android devices at a customer site, you have complete control over their access rights and security protection. You retain control over every byte of your company’s valuable data by limiting access on a user-by-user basis, while helping keep their personal devices safe from security threats. 3. Keeping it Simple for Mobile Employees. You shouldn’t expect employees who conduct remote business on an occasional basis to memorize a truckload of passwords, follow complex rules, and learn inconsistently designed software apps just to get their jobs done on the road. Microsoft® takes a holistic approach to all mobility issues through desktop virtualization, which simplifies their user experience through consistency. This means that one password gets them anywhere they need to be and provides remote access to the same Windows® apps that they use in the office, while keeping it secure without forcing them to think about security. 4. Having an Effective Mobile Device Management Plan. While your employees shouldn’t have to memorize and follow a complex set of rules, you should still have a mobile device management plan in place to protect your organization. At a basic level, the goal of mobile device management is to protect the data on employee devices. This reduces the risk of a mobile device being compromised, and can help secure your data, should it become compromised. Most mobile device management systems allow you to manage the users’ devices, establish a user policy, and wipe or reset the device in certain cases. You should also have a process around employee transitions, and it should address what happens to a mobile device when an employee leaves your organization. Does the phone get wiped, and does the employee know what to do with it when they leave? This goes hand-in-hand with mobile device management, and can benefit your organization in the long run (especially if an issue does occur). Another aspect to consider is mobile application management, which is similar to mobile device management. Mobile application management lets you manage and control specific apps on mobile devices. For example: you could delete or deny access to their email account, or an app they use for work, but leave the rest of the phone untouched. This method keeps your organization’s data secure, and it also lets your employees feel safe using their mobile devices. You Don’t Have to Pay Big Bucks to Conduct Business Remotely. When a customer needs sudden in-person assistance, you may not have the luxury of sending out a team member who is dedicated to providing remote support. You can send in-house personnel out, however, as long as they have good access to company data and communications without requiring expensive special equipment and training. Good news: the costs of having the right technology are scalable. Whether you have a dedicated remote staff or not, you can afford to conduct business remotely, just like your large competitors. You don’t have to be big, as long as you have a major technology provider standing with you. What does your organization need to accomplish to have a mobile workforce? Neil Voeller Neil Voeller is a Senior Enterprise Account Manager at Aureon Technology, where he specializes in developing Network designs and architecture for multi-site businesses, Public School Districts, Colleges that need diverse and secure Network Structures, which can withstand deliberate and malicious attacks to their network(s). Neil has a Master's of Science in Marketing & Management, which has positioned him well to understand the importance of maintaining the structure and security of a firm's telecommunications network.