|Issue:||Europe II 2011|
|Topic:||Mobile search apps – data on the go|
Simon Bain is the Founder, CTO and Chief architect of Simplexo Ltd’s software solutions; he is a highly respected figure in the structured markup industry and a frequent spokesman on XML applications. Previously, Mr Bain consulted for SoftQuad providing customer integrations and XML expertise. He delivered the first XML introductory seminar for IBM and is on the Board of the Sun Microsystems User Group.
The need to access vital information whilst on the move is necessary for many businesses. Secure web search applications let people instantly search all of the information on their own desktops, from any mobile device, with a single-click. With cloud computing, security is a primary concern. With dedicated mobile search applications most security risks disappear; once the search is complete, the information is scrubbed from the device’s memory, so there is no risk if the device is lost or stolen.
It came as no surprise that data traffic has exceeded the volume of voice calls on the world’s wireless networks for the first time this year, with consumers today relying heavily on mobile devices to access digital content such as the Internet and in particular, social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The data explosion has created a major challenge for mobile phone operators who are now under pressure to meet demands for mobile Internet services. The surge in data traffic is placing a strain on network capacity in some areas and mobile operators are struggling to cope with the soaring demand for increased bandwidth, which is needed to access rich and complex digital content in real-time. The need to access vital information whilst on the move is certainly a requirement for many businesses; however, having sophisticated support, network management and services is a continuous challenge for carriers. The rising use of multiple mobile devices to access and create digital content is further driving the demand for improved wired and wireless networks and services. For example IT consultancy, Unisys, has approximately a third of its 25,000 employees using their own personal smartphones and PC tablets to access company email and other data as part of a pilot project1. As a result, IT managers are now finding an increasing number of employees asking for help to hook up their iPads and other personal portable digital devices to company IT systems so that they can access their company email, calendar, contact list and other services on their own devices. This new way of working with technology can be seen as a ‘consumerisation’ trend, and is raising an opportunity for forward thinking leaders who embrace it to dramatically improve productivity as well as employee moral. The major challenge for companies is authenticating multiple devices for each employee and maintaining overall system security. Authentication is often quite costly so only a handful of employees can actually benefit from having this luxury; it especially limits users who normally have reduced access. Security fears regarding remotely accessed information are especially high in the public sector. Government workers using smartphones have recently been issued new guidance by CESG to help them work remotely and securely. The new guidance has been developed in collaboration between providers and CESG (UK, Communications-Electronics Security Group) government cyber security experts, in response to the public sector employees’ need to use smartphones to connect to their official work networks remotely2. As the number of people using multiple devices continues to soar and he demand to connect employee personal devices with company systems grows, so does the requirement for secure information web search applications, which let people instantly search their own desktops from any mobile device. A sophisticated mobile search application can help eliminate the problem of running effectively with the low bandwidth currently available on 3G networks. With the right applications and desktop control software, users no longer need high bandwidth to remotely access and efficiently download information from their desktop computers. The Butler Group of independent analysts, report that information-based workers spend up to 20 hours a week searching for information and worse, for information that they sometimes never find. With people relying on multiple devices, searching for information and files could become even more complicated, inaccurate and tedious. Due to ‘consumerisation’, applications that enable secure remote desktop search are set to grow in popularity and demand in 2011. Using a real-time mobile search application, people can search all of their information with a single-click, even media files on removable memory cards. With a single search, users can get results from local files, SMS Text messages, emails, social networking sites, Exchange server and SharePoint. Cloud computing – a challenge for managers trying to embrace remote search – is the talk of the year and at the top of every CIOs agenda. A recent survey by the Cloud Industry Forum, a non-profit organisation, revealed that end user organisations continue to express anxieties about data security, privacy and sovereignty. It is clear that when it comes to cloud computing, security is a primary concern for users. However, given the current number and variety of cloud-based services, businesses need to ensure that its employees are protected from IT threats. With dedicated mobile search applications this risk disappears; as soon as the search is complete, the information is scrubbed from the device’s memory, so there is no chance of data theft if the device is lost or stolen. The growing popularity of cloud computing and machine-to-machine (M2M) applications will certainly add to the pressure for improved network capacity and mobile Internet applications. M2M is not a new concept; however, the familiar uses of M2M services such as fleet tracking, inventory management and remote monitoring are no longer the beginning and end of the market. There is renewed interest in M2M, largely due to the growing popularity of a new range of connected consumer electronics that provide M2M with a human dimension. The telecoms industry has claimed that this is blurring the statistical lines somewhat, with some organisations, for the sake of marketing, count tablets as connected devices. Today, employees welcome the ability to access all of their working files, general information and personal social media content when out of the office and this will press the demands for mobile search applications. In order to address security issues, managers need to adopt mobile search applications that eliminate individual searches on multiple data sources – leaving no trace of their searches. An effective mobile search application will deliver the up-to-date information you need, on demand and in real time, without presenting unwanted results that waste valuable time. Businesses embracing this new working culture will benefit from having improved productivity and more effective communications. Mobile search will give employees greater flexibility, and the resources needed, to make strategic decisions away from the office. By adopting a secure mobile search application, businesses will also benefit from providing all employees with full access to the authorised information and files they require. Unlike an access authentication key, employees can access internal files and their company intranet securely from a mobile device exactly as they would using their PC at work or home. This eliminates the need for access authentication keys, which are extremely costly. As more services move to the cloud and M2M and Internet applications are further developed, we will see a greater demand for mobile search applications that facilitate access to the user’s own information and giving the user tools to manage their files efficiently. Forgetting where a file is stored or what communication was last made with a supplier will become irrelevant and a thing of the past; a single click will be all that it takes to search accurately and find the information you need from any one of your mobile devices. From a security aspect, people using a secure mobile search application on their mobile device will no longer need to worry about the threat of data loss and leakage. Not one trace of your information searches will be left so the security issues surrounding accessing confidential data out of the office are automatically solved; you will have access to the same information you would if working at your PC. 1. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/093e8cee-6785-11e0-9138-00144feab49a,s01=1.html#axzz1Js1i7ygv 2. http://www.publicservice.co.uk/news_story.asp?id=16037