This content is part of the Essential Guide: How to deal with Identity and access management systems

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Make mobile data access and security top priorities

Information is king for today's workers, but it isn't always as easy as it should be to access mobile data. Businesses must also consider mobile data security.

There are millions of applications in businesses and public app stores, and they all have at least one thing in common: data.

The sheer volume of apps, plus the recent explosion in smart technologies and the Internet of Things, is a recipe for exponential data growth. But, ironically, mobile workers still have a hard time accessing the data they need.

There are many ways to provide mobile data access, but it's difficult to determine which is best for a company and its users. Will an app that serves as a connection to back-end systems suffice, or should IT administrators extend mobile data access to users' devices? And how will admins ensure mobile data security?

Starting down this road typically comes with more questions than answers, but there's a simple to-do list that can get things rolling. First, decide if data needs to be available offline; then determine how to make that a reality. Throughout the process, make sure mobile data security is a priority.

Offline mobile data access

There are many ways to provide mobile data access, but it's difficult to determine which is best.

Internet access is nearly ubiquitous for most organizations and their employees in the United States; 87.4% of Americans have Internet access. Many companies assume that employees always have access to the Internet, and to the corporate network via virtual private network or a comparable method, but that simply isn't the case. Companies must consider offline data possibilities in their mobility plans.

Businesses must also consider that employees who usually have Internet access sometimes end up disconnected from the Web. For example, Wi-Fi on airplanes becomes more prevalent by the day, but it's not yet standard, particularly on smaller regional aircrafts. For the road warriors in an organization, this can amount to a lot of lost time and productivity. Many employees who work on the go expect access to their information anytime, anywhere and on any device, and that sometimes includes offline mobile data access.

How to make mobile data available, online or off

How to keep mobile data secure

To decide what needs to be offline-enabled, consider the audience: Is it a sales force that needs the ability to constantly interact remotely, or does the application target internal personnel who travel occasionally? Simple questions such as these serve as a starting point. If users don't need offline capabilities, then don't build in the complexity. If data does need to be available offline, companies must decide what that data is, how important is it to the organization and how to secure it.

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