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Flexible working arrangements mean that your workforce is becoming increasingly mobile. Previously your IT team needed only deal with data access requests from the field sales team, but the number of remote workers is growing.

Freelancers, homeworkers and “I just need access to my files so I can do some work in the evening”-types all require access to key data and applications. And that’s before you start looking at Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) initiatives that see your IT team supporting employees’ personal devices.

Every single network attached device represents a very real security risk – particularly as employees carry more corporate data stored on each. Which means that criminals have a multitude of potential attack points.

So how do you overcome these challenges without breaking your budget?

Reduce the amount of data being transported

Data stored on mobile devices is extremely vulnerable to loss or theft. A mislaid smartphone could, in the right hands, completely compromise your company’s intellectual property. So you need to take steps that limit the amount of data being held on these remote devices.

Cloud file storage

Office 365 gives remote workers access to key productivity tools – but it also comes with dedicated Cloud storage to hold your files. Because the data is held in the Cloud, the loss or theft of a device means that the data is not lost.

Office 365 has the added benefit of using Microsoft’s data centres, which means that your files are protected by enterprise-grade security provisions. Even more helpfully, Microsoft are fully responsible for maintaining security – so you get all the benefits, with none of the overheads.

You will find that moving core business applications into the Microsoft Azure Cloud delivers similar advantages, your data is secured off site, and is accessible anywhere at any time. And because you have outsourced the underlying infrastructure, the costs of managing and maintaining hardware falls to the service provider too.

Location of data is an important consideration as well.  Just because data is in the cloud, doesn’t mean you don’t, or shouldn’t, care about where its is.  Microsoft recently announced the opening of their first UK data centres meaning businesses can be more comfortable knowing exactly where their data is stored.

Hosted desktops

Hosted desktops are a great way to standardise your operating environment. Whether connecting from the office, at home, or using a mobile device on the road, a consistent computing experience does wonders for productivity – everything is right where your users expect it.

And because all the data accessed via hosted desktop is stored in that session, none of it is downloaded to the user’s device. If they lose their tablet, or a burglar steals their home PC, corporate data remains safely stored in the Cloud, away from prying eyes.

And just like Office 365, all of the hosted desktop data is stored in an enterprise-class Cloud data centre located in the UK, protected by industry standard security provisions. By outsourcing management of your PC environment to On Line Computing, resources are freed up for maintaining other key aspects of your IT infrastructure.

Enforce the rules

You can also restrict what happens on mobile devices using Mobile Device Management (MDM) tools. By enrolling smartphones in the platform, you can apply security settings, such as enforcing password controls to unlock the device, or remotely wiping devices that are lost or stolen. You can even limit the apps being installed on a device to prevent information being leaked.

On Line Computing’s MDM solution operates entirely in the Cloud, so there’s no need for additional investment in hardware or software. And like all the other Cloud solutions discussed here, the responsibility for managing the back-end of the system lies with our team of expert engineers. And we’re always on hand to provide help and guidance on using the system too.

To learn more about how to secure your data in the age of the mobile workforce, please give us a call