The mobile workforce is on the rise – and with good reason. Studies have shown the value of working remotely, both in terms of employee productivity and satisfaction, as well as savings in terms of time and money.
Statistics from Telework Exchange, a public-private partnership, says 71% of organizations report increased productivity with telework, and 75% of teleworkers say they get more accomplished when they work remotely.
In addition to the growing number of businesses supporting a mobile workforce, the commitment from employees to work is clear. A study conducted by Osterman Research and commissioned by Neverfail discovered that a staggering 94 percent of end user respondents use their phones to send e-mail or text messages during work nights or on the weekends, and nearly 80 percent never leave their phones at home when they go on vacation.
Despite the benefits of and commitment to working remotely, there are many unique challenges when you have a mobile workforce. Businesses that promote a bring your own device (“BYOD”) or mobile workforce environment rely on connectivity and high availability to keep their employees working as efficiently as possible. When an outage occurs – whether due to a natural disaster, human error or plethora of other factors – that increased efficiency can go down the drain very quickly. Therefore, it’s important to know your critical applications will remain up and running, whether your workers are in the office, on the road, or in their homes.
But it’s often hard to know just where to start protecting your business in this new model. So we’ve included a few tips:
- Ensure high availability of mobile applications. Especially with mobile apps, it’s not just critical that you can recover data in an outage, but that you can ensure applications stay up and running to avoid the outage in the first place. That means finding a high availability solution that continuously monitors your mobile application ecosystem to provide the highest level of protection, and one that provides immediate failover of servers running those apps should your primary server fail.
- Consider enterprise-wide protection instead of just mobile protection. Continuous availability of your mobile applications alone will not protect your business. It’s just as important to ensure high availability of your other applications and servers that power your business on the back end. Keeping the connection open for mobile users doesn’t do any good if the data a user wants is unavailable.
- Investigate unified solutions. Mobile data access requires that several layers of applications work together to connect the end users to their data. Solutions that encompass your mobile applications as well as your company’s email, databases, and other sources can provide seamless business continuity. When multiple solutions are in use, look for ways to create integration so that the solutions can coordinate with each other.
- Think security. It’s important to understand that every time an employee receives information on their mobile device (i.e. phone, tablet, etc.) your data could be at risk. Constant availability makes users less likely to store data on their personal devices. While it takes a shift in thinking, it’s important to protect your business-critical information and applications no matter where they are accessed.
While technologies and organizations are changing rapidly, one thing is certain: the trend in mobile workforces will continue to grow. Even if your organization promotes an on-site culture, with the proliferation of smartphones and tablets your workforce is more mobile than ever. Therefore, it’s not whether you should develop a plan to ensure mobile business continuity, but when. And with numbers like those mentioned above, the time is now.
Mobile Worker image by mikecogh on Flickr