The Always-On Culture + Mobile Access = IT Nightmare?

Are you a part of the always-on workforce? As it turns out, a large percentage of us are.

Long gone are the 9-to-5 workdays confined to our office cubicles. Often we find ourselves working on the go and looking for mobile access from our tablets or smartphones — be it while waiting at the doctor’s office, during a long commute or even while out with loved ones.

Much Ado About Mobile Access

In a recent CareerBuilder study, 1,000 full-time workers were surveyed about their habits and attitudes toward the 9-to-5 workday. According to the survey, 63 percent of workers thought the concept was outdated. Even more surprisingly, 62 percent of participants working beyond the traditional eight-hour day said it was a choice, not an obligation.

Whether we celebrate or mourn the rise of the always-on culture, “workers want more flexibility in their schedules, and with improvements in technology that enable employees to check in at any time, from anywhere, it makes sense to allow employees to work outside the traditional 9-to-5 schedule,” said Rosemary Haefner, CHRO at CareerBuilder.

With a significant amount of the workforce eschewing the typical schedule, how can IT empower these always-on employees looking for mobile access while still satisfying security standards for access management?

To BYOD or Not to BYOD? That Is the Question

Well, maybe that’s not the only question, but it is on the mind of many organizations looking to become more mobile-optimized.

As we stand today, IT is experiencing two strong push and pull factors when it comes to corporate mobile access: The push comes from users looking to have a stellar mobile experience, one that is not much different from what they have when using their favorite personal apps. The pull comes from security and access management compliance.

As such, bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs, new mobile applications and mobile collaboration and productivity tools are exciting for end users but represent growing concerns for IT. Add in the rising number of users on managed and unmanaged devices — business partners, new employees, social collaborators, vendors, etc. — and protecting the corporate network can seem like an impossible task.

As a result of this push-and-pull phenomenon, security often comes at the expense of the mobile user’s experience. Overauthenticating the user, asking to create and recall numerous credentials and failing to optimize certain business functions have become far too common. Always-on users, looking to work from their mobile devices, are increasingly frustrated.

Allow Your Always-On Users a Single Sign-On Experience

One effective way to address the situation for both the end user and the IT department is to deploy a mobile single sign-on (SSO) solution. Ideally, mobile SSO provides the end user with a more seamless experience while still accounting and preparing for the dynamics that inevitably come with mobility in the workplace — namely, jailbroken, managed or unmanaged, and infected or clean devices.

When looking to deploy a mobile SSO solution, certain capabilities will help you empower your always-on workforce. These are features you should consider when selecting a vendor:

  • Risk-scoring that leverages user and mobile device information;
  • Establishing trust based on factors such as device fingerprinting, location awareness and IP reputation;
  • SSO integration and connectors with your organization’s most commonly used third-party applications; and
  • Fraud and malware protection capabilities.

IBM Security Access Manager provides mobile SSO capabilities along with numerous other access management functions for cloud, web apps, on-premises devices and more.

Update your security with mobile multi-factor authentication

Contributor'photo

Patricia Diaz

Portfolio Marketing Manager, IBM

Patricia Diaz is a worldwide Portfolio Marketing Manager for IBM Security. Since joining IBM in 2014, Patricia has held...