Mobile and Cloud Computing for SharePoint Users, Part 1

Posted by Marcus Liban on 1/15/2015

Originally posted on the SydneyPLUS blog 9/19/2014


mobiledevicesAt 2014’s ILTA SharePoint Symposium, solution providers and attendees were very focused on mobile and cloud computing. There are some interesting takeaways that I’d like to share. In this first of two blog posts, I’ll focus on trends in mobile and BYOD.

Today’s law firm IT staff and their users have some very strong requirements for expanded access to knowledge assets. Mobile device and browser agnostic support are expected, and there are options aplenty. Mobile app, data delivery and mobile device management (MDM) solution providers were popular at the symposium, though what this year’s ILTA SPS attendees saw had a bit of a different spin…

Typically, a firm’s remote access portfolio has consisted only of Citrix/VPN combinations. Well, advance the clock…law firm knowledge workers now expect content rich, full featured SharePoint sites - and access to them across all device types (primarily the demand for smartphones, tablets and laptops) is a must have -- to the point where standard Citrix/VPN offerings  are bordering on unacceptable.

Since mobile and “bring your own device” (BYOD) options are becoming must haves, law firm IT departments are forced to balance the mobile and BYOD must haves with the legal data protection imperative. Fortunately, traditional MDM early entrants (like full featured AirWatch’s MDM solution) are here to support them.

This is all good; their offerings are welcome: they allow for solid, well-rounded and granular policies, device inventory, and access management (who, what, when, where:  who has access, what they have access to, when they are allowed access and where they can access from), remote wipes and more. Remember, with BYOD, these are personal devices…your firm doesn’t own them! So, remote wipes need to accommodate corporate data wiping only, not necessarily personal data wiping. Traditional MDM provider help is appreciated for these and other use cases – we need ‘em!

But BYOD/MDM infrastructure and deployment tends to be lengthy, complex, and hardware intensive.  So, what we expect in technology is now here: new, focused MDM alternatives are now choosing their niche and touting their wares – providers such as Mobile Helix and Workspot, who were among this year’s ILTA SPS attendees. These are companies with great solutions, each with their own angle, special focus, and unique benefits. They are definitely worth a look - especially when you compare their touted deployment times, minimal infrastructure requirements and, uh, yeah -- SharePoint integration solutions!

I hope you’ve found this information to be thought provoking. Please look for an overview of cloud computing issues relevant to SharePoint users in the second post in this series.

Topics: Library Management, Knowledge Management

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