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Photo: Mark Bentkower
The consumerisation of IT has brought together two very powerful forces: mobility and cloud. Today's users are demanding easy and secure ways to share information with colleagues, business partners and customers. If IT is to match the expectations of their users and get the productivity boost promised by mobility, they must move beyond traditional storage practices and adopt more user-centric approaches. This means enabling users with a similar experience for accessing and sharing information that they already get from mobile devices and the consumer clouds that come with them.
This is not an easy feat today as it is common in most organisations for more data to exist on mobile devices than in the data centre. There is also pressure to tighten security and governance on mobile data, while at the same time users want more access made easier.
Tough questions don't always require hard answers
Unfortunately, IT support for information on mobile devices usually only extends to basic backup for laptops, with little or no provision made for smartphones and tablets.
So how do organisations deliver a data management strategy that balances expectations of users and governance needs of IT in the mobility landscape? The answer is to redefine data management and give data mobility the priority it deserves. And to do that, they need to ask (and answer) a number of questions.
- What information is on mobile devices?
- What importance does it carry?
- Where is the information being stored?
- How is it used?
- What are the risks associated with each piece of information?
It's remarkable how often CIOs and IT managers feel they need to avoid these questions because of the challenges they often face in seeking to address them. They are also under significant pressure from end users to provide access to simple collaborative platforms, which if not supported by IT, and instead surrounded by red tape and governance, could lead to a revolt within the organisation. It doesn't have to be like that. In reality, businesses don't have to invade staff privacy to arrive at a more effective data management regime. The fact is they can provide the controls required to improve security, risk and productivity without limiting their employees.
Striking the right balance for everyone
It is possible for organisations to mitigate all of these challenges and provide the productivity tools that users are happy with. The wide availability of fast networks and modern deduplication technologies means that collecting data from user's laptops isn't intrusive or the storage challenge it used to be, and once back to your data centre, you can start to manage the information in a way that balances everyone's needs and priorities.
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