Enterprise mobility management: Are you ready for the gig economy?

By Becky Lawlor

Contractors accessing company data via tablet
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The very nature of employment is rapidly changing. In a recent survey by Mavenlink, 61 percent of business leaders stated that agility is critical to a company’s success and its ability to stay competitive. One strategy for achieving agility quickly gaining popularity is to hire contractors who do not require months of training.

As businesses bring on more contractors, they must consider how their enterprise mobility management (EMM) strategies can accommodate these workers while keeping company data secure. This can be particularly challenging in a bring-your-own-everything (BYOx) environment.

Get familiar with contractors

Contractors show every sign of being key players in the new “gig economy.” For starters, it’s easier to get approval for a contractor than a full-time employee, said more than three-quarters of the employers surveyed in the Mavenlink survey, and fewer than 6 percent plan to reduce their use of contractors in the future. However, 69 percent of organizations also said they have inadequate support structures and policies for managing contractors.

It’s important to have a clear understanding of how a contractor’s role within the organization (as specified by the IRS) is different from that of an employee, especially prior to implementing security protocols. For one, contractors typically have specific roles within a company and don’t need broad network access. Secondly, you need to consider what tools, including devices and apps, they need to be successful and how to provide access to these endpoints in a secure manner that is easy for the end user and for IT. Finally, you need to consider how and where the contractor will conduct their work. Many contractors work remotely as frequently, if not more, than they do onsite.

Embrace the cloud

The transition from BYOD to BYOx for workers is all about conducting tasks on personal devices as well as personal applications. Rather than fight this trend, organizations should embrace the cloud and use it to their advantage.

Through the cloud platform, information remains in the organization’s control but is accessible to all employees regardless as to where they are working. When contractors depart, their access can be revoked easily. What’s more, using a cloud system that allows you to wipe content from lost or compromised devices adds another layer of security.

Download Gartner report on enterprise mobility management suites

Employ a complete EMM solution

Many enterprises have already tackled BYOD for employees with managed mobility services. Contractors’ devices must be managed similarly by installing EMM software on their devices that can separate work and personal data. If the contractor resists having an EMM installed on their personal devices, then the organization should offer a company-issued device equipped with an EMM solution.

Because contractors will be working not only on their own devices, but often within their own applications, the EMM solution used needs to be comprehensive. It should be able to enroll most device types, manage applications through an app container that provides data leak prevention, and allows IT to set policies that include restricting access to certain applications or prohibiting devices that have been rooted or jailbroken.

Other features that can enhance contractor productivity and collaboration with internal employees while increasing security include:

  • Identity management, which allows you to provide conditional access to enterprise resources through single sign-on or multifactor authentication.
  • Secure mobile mail that allows you to contain emails and attachments, and/or apply copy/paste and forwarding restrictions to prevent data leaks.
  • Secure mobile chat to enhance collaboration with internal employees while storing all messages in a secure environment.

Stay ahead of the curve

Contractors, the gig economy and BYOx are all here to stay. By accepting this reality and implementing effective security policies and strong enterprise mobility management solutions, you can allow your organization to reap the benefits of an agile and collaborative workforce that includes contractors while mitigating security risks.

Written By

Becky Lawlor

Technology Writer

Becky Lawlor is a freelance technology writer specializing in mobility, cloud computing, unified communications and collaboration solutions. She develops and writes content that helps technology buyers understand and evaluate technology solutions, modernize their IT infrastructure…

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