Cloud helping organizations support mobile workforce

March 20, 2012

Cloud computing continues to provide organizations with several advantages, but as the technology matures, businesses and government agencies are finding new ways to leverage public, private and hybrid cloud environments.

In the enterprise sector, many IT departments now allow employees to work remotely, as mobile devices have enabled workers to use business applications, access important data and collaborate with other employees from any location. With bring-your-own-device policies adding to the increasing prevalence of mobile workforces, it's important for IT decision-makers to develop mobile strategies that augment their company's remote capabilities and support strong security solutions.

According to a recent Computerworld report, many organizations are starting to enhance their mobile strategy with the private cloud, using the technology to control security, management and data access for their mobile workforce. The report cited the example of brokerage sales firm Marcus & Millichap, which is currently in the process of implementing a cloud-based mobile content management system.

"The nice part of this is that we get automatic rendering of content to all mobile devices, removing or eliminating the need to write device-specific apps," said Richard Peltz, senior VP and CIO of the company. "It will allow all of our content to be managed by end users or departments or business units."

The report also noted a recent study by global market research firm TNS, which revealed the accessibility to information via multiple devices is the top motivating factor for why enterprises adopt the cloud. Respondents named that reason for cloud adoption more than accelerating business speed and reducing costs. According to Computerworld, much of the excitement regarding mobile cloud computing comes from the fact that smartphones and tablets contain less internal storage space than desktop computers and laptops. This makes the cloud highly beneficial to mobile users, allowing them to deploy storage, security, management and data access tools through a centralized environment.

The report also explained key issues that will impact the success of mobile cloud usage for each adopter, including security, mobile application development and mobile device management.

Despite the clear productivity benefits of creating BYOD policies and mobile workforces, security remains a top concern. Experts say it's vital for organizations to devise a comprehensive security policy for all connected employee mobile devices, and implement advanced data protection technology that can defend smartphones, tablets and mobile cloud environments from the increasing presence of sophisticated threats.

-McAfee Cloud Security