A few weeks ago I wrote a piece on the Gig Economy (click here to read). One of the key findings of that piece was the way British businesses had, over the last decade, completely transformed the way they did business. Freelancers, one of the types of workers that make up the Gig Economy, had increased their presence in the workforce by 43 percent since 2008. This change has had a significant impact on the technology required by small and medium-sized businesses (as well as large corporations) to conduct their work remotely and securely.
Freelancers, however, are not the only change to the U.K. workforce; the way full-time employees work is also changing. The office, an eight-hour long day-care once used to get some peace and quiet from your other half is no longer the essential hub where business gets done. Increasingly, businesses are offering their employees flexible working schedules, meaning, the best person for the job doesn’t always need to be the one that lives within an hour’s commute to the office. Likewise, those businesses that rely on a mobile workforce, say consultants that need to regularly meet with clients all across the city, country or world now have the ability to be as productive as they would be if they were sitting right there in the office. Every device, including smartphones and tablets, now has the capability to act as a computer, with apps being developed almost daily that give workers the same experience they’ve come to expect from a desktop machine.
Now, all of this is positive news. Technology has developed to such an extent that for almost no extra cost the world has become any business’ talent pool and businesses can often sweeten their employee value proposition by offering flexible working schedules – as someone who writes for a living and enjoys doing so from the comfort of his own study at two in the morning, flexible work not only increases my productivity, it allows me to manage deadlines more efficiently. As great as remote working can be – from me being able to work on a piece whenever I want, to new mothers wanting to jump back into the workforce after giving birth to those living miles away from their office’s HQ – from an employer’s perspective, there is one major red flag: security.
Having a mobile, flexible workforce means you absolutely must have a mobile security strategy in place. If you don’t, you risk making a Hillary Clinton email scandal out of yourself and putting your customers’ and business’ data in serious jeopardy. From May 2018, add a little GDPR into the mix and not only could you be looking at a serious security breach and PR nightmare, you could also be facing fines of up to £17.5 million (or 4 percent global revenue, depending which is greater).
So let’s talk mobile security, otherwise known as Enterprise Mobility + Security (EM+S).
What is Enterprise Mobility + Security (EM+S)?
Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility + Security solution is a cloud-based management tool that allows businesses to use the Cloud to control identity, devices, information, and access to apps and resources. It is easy-to-use and essential for any business, regardless of size, that has employees that use their phones to look through email, share files or store data.
Whether it’s a company loaned device or your own (BYOD), EM+S provides your business with a holistic approach to identity-driven protection. Here’s how it works:
- Mobile Identity and Access: With your Office 365 account, Azure Active Directory gives you a single sign-on identity to an array of cloud services. This can be used on any device and browser and ensures only trusted users have access to business apps.
- Mobile Applications: Allows you to manage and administrate your business’ software on an end users’ device.
- Device Management: Securely deploy privately owned (BYOD) devices within your business. Device management also allows you to separate corporate and personal data, often referred to as ‘setting up containers’ or containerisation.
- Content: set up secure access to corporate content on any mobile device. Control what can and cannot be accessed by users and on what device they can access it.
How does Microsoft make EM+S work?
The team over at Microsoft use a variety of applications in order to make EM+S the security success story that it is. Some of these include:
- Azure Active Directory: Enterprise-grade identity and access management.
- Microsoft Intune: A cloud-based device and application management tool.
- Microsoft Identity Manager: On-premises identity and access management tool.
- Advanced Threat Analytics: Behavioural analysis that detects threats well in advance of them taking place.
- Azure Rights Management: Protects information regardless of location.
The benefits of having a mobile workforce are obvious and in this always-on world where customers expect businesses to be on-call almost 24/7, refusing to be mobile is no longer an option.
From increasing creativity and productivity to allowing you to custom pick your workforce from anywhere in the world, mobile and remote working is the way of the future and having an Enterprise Mobility + Security strategy in place is essential for your business to successfully deliver this new work model, as well as keeping your customer and company data secure.
If you would like to find out more about EM+S talk to us today.
For more information on Microsoft’s collaboration tools and the Gig Economy click here.
If you would like more information on GDPR click here.
Words by Camilo Lascano Tribin