08/05/2013 12:00 BST | Updated 08/05/2013 12:00 BST

Mobile Collaboration

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The consumerisation of IT is nothing new, PWC predicts that more than a third (35 per cent) of the workforce will be using personal devices for work related tasks in 2013. Analyst house IDC also expects the global mobile worker population to rise to more than 1.19 billion in 2013. Today's digital workers want information at their fingertips 24/7. Not only this, but they want the opportunity to use their own gadgets for work purposes. The benefits are twofold: employees can utilise that dead time commuting and travelling to and from meetings and employers can maximise the productivity of their staff.

But now we are getting more of the workforce on board, how can we streamline the process? Whilst IT managers are concerned with managing security, business managers are focusing on productivity - even a few seconds can make a difference when it comes to last minute deadlines. There are a number of mobile apps, fast-gaining popularity for the efficiency they can offer today's mobile workers, for example: Quick Office, Skype, DocuSign and GoToMeeting.

But to ensure the future of mobile working policies, both need to work together to ensure that security is not being sacrificed for efficiency. Businesses need to be looking for tools that have been built for the enterprise from the beginning. Although organisations are using consumer gadgets, the virtualised environments need to be business ready with the appropriate security levels built in.

Consumer tools will not offer the same level of protection and organisations will be leaving themselves wide open to data theft. With company IP spread across different devices belonging to both the company and individuals, it's going to be impossible for the IT department to keep track of where everything is. What we now have is a large jigsaw puzzle of company data and no one knows where all of the pieces are. Information has been broken up and scattered across numerous devices and consumer tools.

Clear mobile working policies must be put in place. They need to outline what content can be accessed on a mobile and what can't. Businesses will need to make sure they are up to date when it comes to current data protection legislation and what type of data they are storing Company's then have to ensure that they have the right technologies in place to support the legislation. If possible, include policies to ensure employees' devices are secure as well, with passwords for accessing the company network, email and even their own device in case its gets stolen or goes missing.

Ideally ,businesses should supply employees with the tools to do their job, giving them apps to access data securely rather than allowing them to download their own unregulated apps. This has the dual benefit of ensuring that content is not dispersed across various consumer tools and external shared drives. Cloud services exist today that do this exact job - keeping content centrally managed and secure whilst offering simple access to business users through consumer editing tools like Quickoffice. It is time business users and IT work together and deliver the ease of use and security required. Wake up - fragmenting your enterprise brain is not the answer!