Subscribe / Unsubscribe Enewsletters | Login | Register

Pencil Banner

How to work seamlessly across multiple devices

Paul Mah | March 20, 2014
Employees who used to burn the midnight oil at the office now get to do so from the comforts of home, thanks to the proliferation of personal laptops, tablets and smartphones. Getting files to appear on and sync with multiple devices can be challenging, but a little bit of advanced planning can go a long way.

Though it isn't necessary to run the same app on every platform, it does offer convenience and means having to learn far fewer apps. Common apps available on more than one platforms include Microsoft Office (Windows, OS X), the Chrome Web browser (Windows, OS X, Android and iOS) and FileZilla (Windows, OS X, Linux).

You will need to replace the productivity apps that inevitably aren't offered on multiple platforms. One way to make things easier: Categorize the shortlisted apps by functionality and then search for the best-of-breed apps that provide these features on another platform.

Acquiring these apps through an official app store will get them set up on your new device with minimal fuss. Even if apps are installed separately from the app store, the current pace of product revisions and security updates means there's really no point in keeping a copy of an app's installation package handy. When necessary, simply download the latest version and install it.

Synchronize Your Data Through the Cloud

To cover all the bases when using multiple devices, consider cloud storage for keeping files in sync. This ensures that files can be accessed anywhere - even on public access terminals or a colleague's machine - and will work with legacy apps that may not come with cloud-sync capabilities. Because all changes to files are synchronized automatically, this could also serve as a backup repository should devices be lost or stolen (though an offline backup is always preferable).

There are many cloud storage services out there. Many now offer business-centric versions that can come with larger storage capacities, more robust backup options, detailed audit logs with file download and file access time stamps, and a centralized administrative console with details about individual accounts and access rights.

Finally, if youre leery about storing data in the cloud, you can opt for a secure cloud storage service such as SpiderOak, which lets you keep data entirely encrypted and shared between PC and mobile devices.

Synchronize Your Messaging, Contacts and Calendars, Too

After synchronizing your files and installing the right productivity apps, you should address collaboration. Done correctly, this allows business-centric messaging, contacts and schedules to be easily accessed and updated across all devices.

Things are rather consolidated on this front and just a few offerings stand above the rest, with Microsoft Exchange Server and Google Apps representing the juggernauts. Support for both platforms is prevalent and can be incorporated in all smartphone and tablet devices.

Businesses can deploy Exchange Server on-premises or use the cloud-based Exchange Online. The latter is available as a standalone service from Microsoft, starting at $4 per month, from accredited third-party vendors or as part of Microsoft's Office 365 offering. Be warned: This confusing bundling strategy makes it hard to find the most cost-effective package that meet your needs. Alternatively, the free Outlook.com service also offers the same Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) capability.

 

Previous Page  1  2  3  Next Page 

Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.