Businesses today are striving for change and adapting to modern ways of working. In fact, IDC predicted that over 37% of the global workforce would be mobile by 2015 (a rise of 300 million people since 2010). The benefits of flexible, collaborative working are well documented; organisations can reduce internal capital and operational expenditure, while mobilising a workforce to be productive and achieve their goals. But it also means C-level execs need to consider and implement new strategies, technologies and policies that are secure and keep the business firmly in control.
‘Bring your own device’ (BYOD) policies have given employees greater freedom than ever before, but have significantly raised the risk of corporate data loss. Unfortunately for businesses, when they don’t own the devices, it is much more difficult to guarantee information security. More devices generally mean the business has far less control over its documents and data because they are often held outside of the company’s infrastructure, posing increased security risks.
The management of mobility can no longer be the charge of just the IT department; significant changes in the way people work, the devices they work on and the associated impact on cost, security and management of staff and company information put it right into the heart of the C-suite. Striving for a modern, flexible business puts executives in a paradox; how can they meet the demands for mobility and flexibility while managing the greater associated security concerns?
An important technology to enable mobile working is the cloud based document management system (DMS) model, which can provide a secure, flexible, scalable and efficient method to store, share, collaborate and manage document repositories across the entire business. Business centric, subscription-based cloud DMSs provide a central facility by which any employee can store, access and print documents globally over a standard Internet connection. Remote workers connecting to the cloud with their tablets, smartphones, laptops, MFP, PCs and even interactive whiteboards can easily access documents, share ideas and react more effectively to new opportunities. This is a substantial benefit, especially for organisations with employees who are always on the move and require fast, easy, anywhere access to their documents.
Before purchasing a DMS system, it’s important to check that the SaaS product can meet all the business requirements while still offering necessary security measures as well as how, in practice, it will work across the business. Cloud solutions can provide the flexibility, scalability, collaboration, workflow and price point that businesses are looking for, and some provide the levels of security and auditability needed for good information assurance (IA). Businesses should check how data is protected, including access controls and subscription management, firewalls, encryption and redundancy. Knowing exactly where and how data and passwords are stored is essential for maintaining central control and security of a DMS and its documents.
Control is another key factor. Losing documents because they are being accessed from multiple devices is a risk, but not a necessity. Cloud based DMSs can substantially reduce security risks because it puts the business in complete control, ensuring every document exists in a secure environment no matter if it’s accessed on PCs within offices or out and about on mobile devices. If a document needs to be shared outside of the business, it should be provided via a link with a limited life for added security.
While technology can provide many facilities the confidentiality of documents and information is ultimately the responsibility of the data owners and users. As a result it is essential that the C-Suite implement appropriate policies for their employees to follow. They should also consider if certain actions and even penalties are appropriate for the misuse of company data.
With the world increasingly adopting a mobile environment, and with recent legislations in mind, more and more employees will continue to demand flexible working policies. It’s crucial that C-level executives realise the changes they need to make and act fast to remain competitive. Selecting the right DMS and mobile management strategies will protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of all information assets processed and stored within an organisation’s business systems, but it’s up to those at the heart of the business to ensure such technology is on the agenda.