Mobile Mentor exists to empower people to achieve more with technology. Traditionally we focused on mobile workers, but after COVID-19 we are seeing that remote work has been normalized in all industries. This changes the way companies secure and support their workforce and creates opportunity for us.
We ensure people are secure on their devices – laptops and smartphones – and we help them to be more productive. We do this by partnering with industry leaders like Microsoft and wrapping support services around their products. The combination of world-class software and award-winning service enables your workforce, where-ever they may be to have the best cloud technology and access to 24×7 support.
I started the company in 2004 because it was painfully obvious that setting up a smartphone required technical skills and time that busy people did not have. You needed to know two email server addresses, you needed a special cable to sync with your laptop and you needed to read a manual. Too hard.
Our first service was called ‘mentoring’ and we spent an hour with each person who bought a new smartphone, doing all the set-up and personalization. That was a roaring success and we rapidly grew to 250 people and expanded our mentoring service to over one million people!
Of course, smartphones became simpler and people got smarter. Over time we developed more services for the enterprise market where security and support are really important. In addition to smartphones, we’ve added tablets and laptops, software like Office 365 and we develop custom mobile apps – essentially providing the tools for the remote and mobile workforce.
COVID-19 and the great digital transformation
Prior to COVID-19, staff who worked outside the office, remotely were the minority and probably not a high priority for many companies. Well, that changed overnight and now we all understand and appreciate the challenges of working outside of a typical office set up.
The first challenge was simply having a device to work on because not everyone had a laptop going into this. Some people took their desktop computer and screen from the office, others commandeered the family PC and many people are working full-time from an iPad. Many companies who previously shunned BYOD now rely on their workforce using personal laptops, iPads and smartphones.
The next challenge is connecting to the company systems and data. This is easy for companies who already operate in the cloud but for others this might require a VPN to connect or jump through a Citrix server to a remote desktop. Of course this is happening over a domestic internet connection which is probably being shared with screen-agers who are watching TikTok videos, playing Xbox and joining Zoom classes, possibly all at the same time while you are on a video call with a customer.
The third challenge is security, and this is the big one. In the rush to work from home, many policies and standards were dropped or skipped. The US federal government even relaxed HIPAA and allowed doctors to FaceTime their patients. However, our domestic internet connections are not secure, and most home PCs do not have encryption. Many of the devices people use to work remotely have no security or management. So, as a society we are more vulnerable than ever before, and cyber criminals are taking advantage.
Finally, there is the human challenge. Companies want their employees to feel supported and valued, especially if they don’t get to meet in person very often. Working remotely can be lonely, frustrating and small technical issues can easily get magnified. Getting technical support from IT can be difficult when they may have ‘bigger priorities’ to deal with during a crisis.
Here are 3 ways we help to secure remote workers
Zero-Touch Provisioning – the ability for a company to order a new laptop or tablet and have it shipped directly to the employee’s home. The employee unpacks the device, enters their password and it self-configures with all the security settings, applications and data for that employee. The IT department never touches it. This is a beautiful experience and works for desktops, laptops and smartphones.
BYOD 365 – the ability to secure Office 365 data (Outlook, Teams etc) on employees’ personal devices (BYO = bring your own). The beauty of this solution is that the company does not have to manage the employee’s device. Security policies are applied to the Office apps only and the company does not have visibility of the employee’s personal apps, photos etc.
Modern Management – a managed service designed for a modern workforce with lots of remote workers. This is a cloud-native, digital support model for companies who want to enjoy the benefits of password-less authentication and paper-less processes. Our service includes security for all company and BYO devices and all the Microsoft Office applications. Employees are supported over the phone and email by our 24×7 support team.
Our team is spread across eight locations in three countries which means we are used to remote, out of office work situations. So, we get it. We understand all these challenges because we had to overcome them, and we are constantly dealing with new challenges. Welcome to our world.
Looking towards the future
More flexible ways of working is a global trend that is here to stay. Fortunately, it is already normal for the Mobile Mentor team, so it is rewarding to be able to support customers on their transition to a this type of workforce. We believe there is a huge opportunity ahead and we are excited about expanding our global reach.
We can serve customers anywhere, it really doesn’t matter if you are in Bonnaroo, Kathmandu or Timbuktu. We can still secure your devices, apps and data and we can still answer your calls and emails and provide productivity advice. And you probably don’t care whether we are in New York or New Zealand as long as we deliver. Our goal is be the remote partner for the remote workforce.
Denis O’Shea from mobile-mentor.com