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By Craig Riegelhaupt, Director, Product Marketing, Mobile Solutions, Tangoe

Finance is no stranger to the ‘work from home,’ movement.  Those who have been in the industry for sometime will easily recall (and attribute the acceleration of the bubble) the ‘day-traders’ in the mid to late ‘90s.  A lot of these people never saw the inside of a traditional office but instead were tied together through the ever-expanding broadband network their trades flowed over.

While the advent of the day trader might have subsided somewhat, the idea of working remotely has only gained strength and traction.According to a study by the UK’s Trade Union Congress (TUC), there are 1.5 million people in Britain  working from home, nearly a quarter of a million more compared to 2005. A more recent report by The Economist found that 60 percent of employees believe mobile technology can boost their productivity and creativity..

This trend is accelerated in the Finance industry as back office and support roles move away from traditional offices, and front-office personnel prefer to use their home office between client visits.  In fact, Forbes identified finance as one of the industries most likely to offer remote working as standard.

Work in finance is no longer just ‘a place you go to.’  It has morphed more into ‘an activity’ you can do mostly anywhere depending on your role.  This transition requires the enterprise to rethink how it supports its workforce with technology and enable mobile policy at work – wherever that may be.

BYOD vs Corporate Liable

There has been much talk around the benefits of a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) mobile policy, especially from a cost-savings perspective.  At first glance, it does seem like the simplest solution to empowering mobile employees wherever they are to improve productivity at minimal cost.  All you need to do is provide access to the network, register the phone on your asset register(hoping that you have one), and go for it.   Easier said than done…

Initial studies have shown that the full costs of a BYOD programme are much bigger than most anticipate, with many hidden costs. Some reports show that over 70% of organisations are reimbursing too much. To these costs, firms may need to add the additional time that their IT teams will need to spend on providing customer support to employees who call when their phone is not working or need business applications to be installed.

While costs are the initial driver to BYOD, security concerns are the main reason most finance organisations move away from it and lean more towards corporate liable (CL) device programmes.  CL programmes allow for easier security control for an industry that is consistently the main target of mobility security threats.

Mobile is forcing companies to make security a top priority, rather than an afterthought with 65% of IT leaders viewing mobile security as the biggest challenge facing organisations in the future, according to a study from Tangoe.

Without considered and implemented policies and procedures around the use of mobile devices for work purposes, employees would be free to access private company information over unsecured networks, leaving sensitive data unprotected.Companies now must build a culture of cyber security – starting with mobile devices, and then branching out to every area of the organisations. They can preemptively build in these protections by creating a “mobile-first” strategy, in which every new service, application or offering is first developed for mobile devices and makes security a top priority.

Mobile device use is compelling organisations to be more proactive about cyber security. IT departments within organisations are more accountable than ever, and the security of the enterprise is no longer an issue merely delegated to managers working for CIOs or CTOs – it is a top-level concern.

Fluid IT Support Programs

The adoption of mobile within the enterprise has paved the way for new technology to enter the workplace. It has accelerated the acceptance and implementation of emerging technologies such as cloud, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), software-defined networking, wearables, and more. While some of these, such as IoT and wearables, are only starting to enter the workplace, they represent a clear sign that we are moving towards a smarter, more mobile enterprise – and customer experience.

Financial institutions have embraced mobile banking and payments beyond the traditional mobile device.  We can now pay, withdraw, approve, and transfer funds from your smart watch.  You can purchase consumables from your smart home – connected to your credit card.  Mobile technology, beyond the device, continues to penetrate both how we work and live.

IT departments need to adopt a more fluid approach that will make future technology, such as IoT, adoption easier, rather than managing to a single platform. Consumers will continue to push technology onto the enterprise, so having the tools, skills and infrastructure in place for the next new piece of technology will benefit IT departments and workers alike.

In summary, mobile has pushed the enterprise to think differently about how it conducts business, and to adapt in ways that it couldn’t have anticipated. It has encouraged companies to continue to innovate, motivating workers to find new ways to conduct business more efficiently and above all securely.

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