When I ask people how the world they work in today is different than 10 years ago, the most popular answers is – it’s more mobile. Do you remember a time when you didn’t get email on your phone or couldn’t request a car service through an app?
The Future of Technology – Wearables?
Fast forward five years into the future – what do you think will be the next life changing technology? The return of the anchored, desktop PC? Hardly… Forrester believes one of them will be wearables. They predict that wearable computing could be bigger for the enterprise than for consumers. Now, it’s important to note that wearables go well beyond the Apple Watch and Google Glass in the consumer market. Enterprises are ramping up, and organizations like Salesforce are introducing new developer tools (Salesforce Wear) to help with that integration.
One wearable use case that intrigued me was with construction workers in the Australian outback where one of the biggest threats are venomous snakes who kill 80% of the victims they bite. These workers are now sporting wearables to immediately alert superiors if anything happens to them so that healthcare workers can intervene in real-time.
Now while many of us may sometimes feel like we are dodging venomous snakes in our office chairs, the common real threats are of data leakage and cyber-attacks. So imagine this: a world where people are authenticated into systems through wearable devices that recognize their body’s unique cardiac signal. Companies like Nymi are introducing new technologies that do just that. It’s real.
Now I am jumping a bit into the future. But that future is not that so far away. The challenge is, most enterprises haven’t yet found a way to secure the mobile workforce of today, let alone the workforce of the future.
This leads me to Truth #4 in my Five Important Truths about Digital Workspaces in a Dangerous World blog series – A Mobile/Consumerized World Requires Real-Time, Context Awareness.
It’s an “Always-On” Culture
The digital workforce wants to work from any location, any time, using any device. While this “always-on” culture can turn some of us into workaholics (at least what my husband calls my work habits), it has also given us new ways of balancing work demands with our personal lives.
So with mobility a real and powerful force, the challenge for IT is to support this new mobile enabled, empowered workforce that wants everything at their fingertips, while balancing the need to ensure access to technology and information remains secure.
Real-Time Situational Security
To support the rise of this new, agile, digital workforce, it is imperative that we remodel the people-to-technology connection. We do this by adapting to the individual employee’s needs and enabling them for the right level of access based on their individual contexts. That means, in real-time, their access adapts based on the context of the worker. Is he or she in a secure Wi-Fi location? What time of day is it? What device is being used? What role is the worker in today, even at this minute?
For example, if you’re a financial consultant should you be able to access secure customer financial records on an open coffee shop Wi-Fi connection? Probably not. But if you take your tablet back to a secure connection like the office, access should be made available immediately. The key is – technology must react to the worker and not force the worker to react to his or her situation.
How Secure is your Future?
Some technologies, including mobile devices and wearables, are still in the experimentation phase. But it wasn’t all that long ago implementing the BlackBerry Enterprise Server was the number one priority on many IT leader’s yearly goals. Now is the time to start asking – not just how you will support the growing, mobile workforce – but how you are going to support them securely. Don’t let security be an afterthought in your mobile enablement strategies.
For more of the 5 Important Truths about Digital Workspaces in a Dangerous World, stay tuned for Truth #5 – Embrace Employee Business Unit Empowerment.
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