4 Key Challenges Surrounding Enterprise Mobility (and How to Address Them)

Mobile devices are now a critical part of doing business. In fact, the global mobile workforce is projected to account for 42% of the global workforce by 2020. According to a 2016 Gartner survey, more than half of employees who used smartphones at work rely on their personally owned smartphones, signalling that using personally owned devices in the workplace has become a new standard.

These devices mean important work can get done from anywhere, and employees can work seamlessly together all over the globe. Managers love that these devices let them stay in constant contact with employees, and employees enjoy the freedom of working remotely.

But the accessibility of mobile, which includes not just laptops, but smartphones and tablets as well, has also meant new challenges that must be addressed through enterprise mobility management. These are a few common challenges of enterprise mobility—and how you can mitigate them to enjoy the benefits of a mobile workforce.

Information silos

Silos are great for farming. They’re not so great for enterprise mobility.

Information silos are created when important information becomes stuck on one device and isn’t shared with the rest of your network. A classic example is a manager working from home occasionally on a personal laptop, and failing to share the files from that computer after moving to another company.

In recent years, cloud-based apps have made it much easier to avoid information silos, since data lives in the cloud instead of on one specific machine. Okta has partnered with our customers to automate the provisioning of corporate apps like Box and Dropbox to give employee seamless access to the critical data they need, when and where they need it. Should an employee leave the company, the automated deprovisioning process will deactivate their accounts, selectively wipe corporate data from their managed devices, and automatically transfer data to an admin account.

Lack of security and regulation

When you work in the cloud, it’s quick and easy to access your corporate documents and email from your smartphone, tablet, or personal laptop. However, those devices aren’t subject to the same security measures and oversight as a computer that stays in your office and is monitored by your IT security team. While cloud computing offers much-needed flexibility, it also opens organizations up to new security risks.

If your employees are working from mobile devices, whether those are personal or company owned, you should make sure those devices meet your security policies before allowing them to access corporate applications. This combined with multi-factor authentication (MFA) will help keep your data safe.

Device loss

Loss of mobile devices happens to everyone at some time, and the consequences aren’t pretty. Since 2006, more than one quarter of data breaches have been the result of lost or stolen mobile devices, far outpacing hacking, unintended disclosures, and leaks by company insiders.

No matter how careful your team members are, eventually someone is going to accidentally leave a device at the gym, on a plane, or in a coffee shop.

Best case, the device turns up later that day. Worst case, it’s gone forever. By working in the cloud, companies ensure that no data is tied to a specific device. That way, the device itself is the only thing that gets lost—not the information on it.

Cloud or not, if the device falls into the wrong hands, a simple password isn’t going to cut it. You can be sure that the data it has access to stays secure with multi-factor authentication (MFA). And if the device is lost for good, selectively wiping corporate apps and data from the device remotely will ensure that whoever finds it will not be able to access critical data stored on it.


Keeping the data on mobile devices secure isn’t just a good business practice; it’s often the law.

Mobile devices aren’t exempt from compliance requirements. Whether you’re dealing with PCI DSS compliance or regulations from HIPAA or the GDPR, you need to have line of sight into where your data goes and who has access to it at all times.

It can be quite difficult to map your data flows and keep track of this confidential information, especially if your organization handles hundreds of mobile devices. One way to meet this challenge is to use mobility management software to ensure any mobile devices used to access data are in compliance with your security policies and local laws.

The trend for employees to use mobile devices to get work done and drive your business is only going to accelerate. Now is the time to ensure only secure users access corporate apps and data from trusted devices. By working with a technology partner to implement tools like MFA, lifecycle management, and mobility management, you can worry less about security or compliance issues.

Keep your data and your workers safe on any device with Okta’s mobility management solutions. Learn more >