The Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) trend has become commonplace in today's corporate society, with an increasing number of organisations allowing employees to use their own, pre-approved devices at the office or at home.
While BYOD has the potential to drive positive change for businesses, data security concerns have prevented many organisations adopting it. For those which have, there is a struggle to provide sufficient security to employees wanting to work from home while maintaining easy usability. It's therefore important that IT managers ensure company security systems can deal with personal devices so businesses don't become exposed to malware or security exploits.
Part of the problem is that employees using personal devices are also likely to access personal email accounts or consumer chat apps for business conversations, such as Facebook Messenger, Skype and WhatsApp. It is because of this type of working that organisations are more exposed than ever before to data leakage and at risk of sensitive, confidential information falling into the wrong hands.
However, the IT department can safeguard and secure content by deploying new technologies which are designed specifically with businesses in mind. The adoption of a business-grade collaboration tool, such as an enterprise chat app, allows employees to safely share content instantaneously, while increasing productivity and work efficiency.
Many organisations still see collaboration tools as a potential source for informal gossip, but fortunately this opinion is changing fast as businesses recognise them as crucial channels for making fast, informed business decisions (and combating email overload at the same time).
They are also helping to radically change the way in which businesses approach support and incident management. With greater workforce mobility and teams based in different geographical locations, internal processes and workflows are more complex than ever before, and have become the linchpin to fast, accurate support – whether that is internal IT and incident support or customer support.
Typically, when a system goes down or a problem occurs within a business, an automated alert is sent via email to trigger issue resolution. Alternatively, an external client or internal employee may raise a support ticket.
Unfortunately, using email in these circumstances can be problematic as threads between teams can lead to siloed knowledge, dreaded repetitive email chains and emails being missed. The same problem could also be experienced by a different person in an alternative department or region due to a lack of knowledge or awareness of the previous incident. They too would need to go through the same cycle of tracking down the correct person to solve the problem, and then endure the same step-by-step process of elimination to resolve it. Not only is this tedious but also time consuming – and bottom line: inefficient.
Workforces require greater flexibility so that internal processes and workflows stay as functional as possible without hindering productivity – which is why accurate support needs to be up to scratch.
Using a modern day collaboration tool effectively supports the basic components of incident management, from the first stage of incident detection and recording, through to classification and initial support, investigation and diagnosis, resolution and recovery, and finally incident closure.
It also gives employees more ownership of processes and encourages greater communication with colleagues, as well as helping them to recognise when a problem may be about to occur. Modern collaboration tools also combine human knowledge with system knowledge by sending system alerts to employees whilst the latter resolve the problems and send updates back into the backend systems.
The challenge for IT departments is keeping pace with the rate at which technology is evolving. Businesses should conduct in-depth research on the vast range of platforms that are on offer, in order to find the correct collaboration tool that best suits their needs and is most likely to be adopted by employees.
The growing BYOD trend means there is no better time for this. With more and more personal devices connecting to corporate networks, and employees spending more time accessing consumer apps at work, companies must make an effort to take back control of how information is shared within their organisation by adopting business equivalents. Finding a trusted collaboration tool that transcends BYOD, appeals to the majority of workers and aids support and incident management should be a priority for IT departments in 2015.
Contriubuted by Joseph Do, CEO, MindLink