Harnessing the mobile workforce through MDS

When the BYOD or bring your own device phenomenon hit the IT industry, many CIOs thought it would just be a phase that would soon be forgotten by most. But, as the choice of mobile devices became greater and their prices started to drop, employees started adopting BYOD and companies soon realised that something needed to be done to cater for their employees.

BYOD, however, has a positive and a negative side. The negative side is that companies now have to find a way to properly secure employee's mobile devices and make sure that sensitive data did not fall into the wrong hands. The positive side, though, was that companies quickly realised their mobile workforces were more comfortable using their own devices and could therefore improve their productivity.

"The idea of having an employee in an office performing menial tasks like catching up on e-mail or compiling invoices makes no sense when they could be doing that while waiting for a meeting to start or having a cup of coffee on the road," says Jason Schoultz, Nashua's Business Solutions Manager. Added to this, the devices themselves are powerful enough to handle these tasks and the connectivity solutions are all already in place. It is now just a matter of getting company-specific information to the employee in a secure manner that does not affect any compliance issues.

"This is where Nashua's managed document solutions (MDS) plays a big role," continues Schoultz. Although an MDS concentrates a lot on how a company treats documents internally, it has been extended to include the mobile workforce as it plays one of most important roles in a company.

When dealing with MDS and the mobile workforce, Nashua bases its assessment on a triangle. The tip of the triangle revolves around data leakage. This is where we look at what types of documents mobile workers need and have access to, says Schoultz.  "We will also take into account if the documents reside in the cloud or on a company's local servers, what kind of access privileges the employee has to the document, if it can be saved to the employee's device, and if so, what kind of security measures need to be in place." The main point of this exercise is to pinpoint any security issues and find ways to ensure the data is always kept confidential and never falls into the wrong hands. 

The middle part of the triangle deals with compliance. "Here Nashua looks at corporate governance like the POPI act and King III rules, which specifically addresses IT governance. We also look at any industry-specific rules. Finally, we take into account any internal policies and ISO standards that may exist within the company. This is a very important part as we don't want to place any restraints on how and where an employee conducts business, and at the same time, want to keep the entire document workflow process as legitimate and legal as possible," says Schoultz.

The final part of the triangle deals with enterprise information management. "Here, Nashua assesses the workflow of the actual information, for example, when a mobile worker deals with a client, he or she will typically have a company's CRM app open and perhaps also an invoicing app open," continues Schoultz. Data from the CRM app would need to be used when compiling an invoice and the idea here is to get the two applications to work together securely and conveniently, bearing in mind that they are no longer being protected by a company's IT security.

"The mobile workforce is an important asset to any company, and so allowing them to conduct work freely and without any restraints is a must, thus Nashua wants to be able to offer a service to a company that enables it to maximise its return on delivery to the client in a safe and efficient way," he concludes.

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