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Topical issues on mobile data abroad. Common problems and survival tips for travelers in seek of a decent internet connection on the go.

The winner EMM strategy with a mobility policy to back it up

There is a new acronym to add to business speak. EMM stands for Enterprise Mobility Management and describes the people, processes and technology focused on managing the process of mobile working.

By the end of this year, Forrester Research believes that 38% of the world’s workforce will be mobile. That is a 65% increase since 2011. With this growth comes a number of new challenges for IT managers and CIOs. These include (but are not limited to): employees bringing their own devices to work and the consequent distribution of data to new devices; security concerns around new devices; security of wireless networks; ensuring connectivity when travelling on work.

Whilst the primary challenges boil down to two key factors: connectivity everywhere and security, an EMM policy is about helping employees be more productive by providing them with the tools that they need to perform work-related tasks on mobile devices.

For the forward thinking CIO, creating a convincing EMM strategy involves five important steps. These are:

  1. Identifying needs and deficiencies
  2. Reviewing available technology tools
  3. Delivering successful implementation of solutions
  4. Analysing the success of these solutions to define what is needed in terms of support
  5. Monitoring the process for potential improvements

But a strong EMM strategy in itself is not enough. It needs to be reflected in and implemented through a mobility policy that enables the use of the technology tools to unlock the full potential of the mobile workforce.

Is your mobility policy up for the challenge?

An average businessman will encounter a number of different scenarios across one working day that pose different challenges. For example, the businessperson might need to use a mobile network on a phone to keep in constant touch with emails, they may also use a hotel Wi-Fi on a laptop overnight and a free airport coffee bar network to carry out research on a tablet – all within one working day. This means using a multitude of devices and networks, all with different privacy, security and accessibility needs. The objective is to keep workers as agile as possible, but the number of devices and networks that are required, each potentially with a different log in and cost associated, make the reality challenging.

mobility-policy

This matter is only complicated further when international travel is involved, partly because of the lack of connectivity when travelling by air, partly due to potential time zone issues and mostly due to the high cost and lack of transparency around data roaming.

Data roaming is an issue that significantly impacts businesses but often does not belong to one department. The Finance Director will be concerned about the cost, which can run into tens of thousands a month. Often this will then be passed to the IT Director or CIO to find a technical solution. The CIO will additionally be concerned that insecure Wi-Fi networks can pose a significant threat to company IP, as I outlined in a recent blog post.

At this point the CIO knows a mobility policy is needed and often this will become prescriptive. For example, employees may need to inform IT two weeks before travelling where they are going and for how long. They may be restricted to only using corporate networks or additional authentication rules on public Wi-Fi networks. We have even known of cases where companies prefer employees to use the cellular network for roaming rather than a hotel Wi-Fi for security reasons!

The issue with all of this is that modern business simply does not work that way. The need to be constantly in contact is no longer a “nice to have”. Imagine travelling abroad and not being able to do business in your hotel room because of a restrictive mobility policy?

For this reason more and more companies are turning to Goodspeed to provide a global data roaming solution. This is not only because of the low daily cost (although this is of course, a significant benefit). It is the combination of the predictable low daily cost, large data bundles, global coverage, high levels of security and data speeds that deliver a consistent user experience. Not to mention the tools that allow the management to monitor data consumption and costs in real time. For a corporation Goodspeed is a tool that can be used as part of an EMM strategy and a mobility policy that, rather than being prescriptive due to cost or security, combines the needs of a user to remain productive with the needs of the company to remain competitive.

- Hanne @Uros