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April’s enterprise collaboration news cycle saw a heavy focus on information security, the successful implementation of social software, and the shift to the mobile enterprise.

Information security

Holger Schulze analyses the results of the Cloud Security Spotlight Report in his article Cloud security: Separating fact from fiction. Holger starts by explaining that security the single biggest factor in enterprises’ ongoing hesitation to push more of the workload, especially mission critical data, onto third-party cloud infrastructures. He explains that unauthorised access is perceived as the single biggest threat to cloud security, followed closely by hijacking of accounts, services or traffic. Holger explains that in order to tackle these, companies must implement an effective security framework will require several key changes in the way we think about security, with a shift away from an emphasis on attack prevention and toward a defense-in-depth approach with advanced data protection methods, such as encryption; the enterprise should realize that in a dynamic data infrastructure, critical information can wind up virtually anywhere; and the cloud may be distributed, but data architectures should still remain tightly integrated across all ecosystems.

This means greater investment in security, and in his article for CIO.com, Paul Rubens argues his case for why companies should be spending more on security. Paul states that many IT chiefs endanger their companies simply by not spending enough on security. He explains that businesses now spend a higher percentage of their IT budgets on security than ever before, but businesses are no more protected than they were because the amount of spending required to achieve this is not connected to overall IT spending in any way. Paul explains that the purpose of investing in security measures is to manage security risk and ensure that it is reduced to an acceptable level, and to reduce it to an acceptable level requires more investment in IT security.

But how do CISOs justify this spend to the business? In his article, How CISOs can communicate risk to businesses, Taylor Armerding summarises a speech given at RSA2015 by Chris Wysopal who stated that “Now CISOs are business leaders overseeing lines of business that are spinning up SaaS applications. They have to deal with legal, compliance, public relations and other units.” Taylor explains that this means that in order to succeed, CISOs are now required to have business and communication skills in addition to their technical skills. Taylor paraphrases Chris Wysopal, who explained that CISOs also need to communicate the level of risk in terms that board members can understand.

Implementing social software

In his article for CMSWire, Dion Hinchcliffe asks should you enable “big” social business or team collaboration? He explains that there are few business decisions more critical than determining how to provide an enabling environment for a workforce to operate efficiently and effectively. By defaulting the decisions to those who almost certainly don’t have as clear a sense of business objectives, he says, this stance ensures collaboration becomes a mostly tactical, and not a strategic activity in the organization. Dion asserts that better empowering what is our single most expensive investment and valuable asset is now an imperative, and great workforce collaboration has become a major competitive differentiator today.

Meghan M Biro agrees, but highlights a key issue surrounding social software: getting people to use it. In her article for Forbes, Meghan asks if business leaders will decide to adapt to social software. She states, “collaboration is great but as far as user adoption does, the workplace is proving slow on the draw.” To facilitate user adoption, she says, social software has to truly enhance and deepen collaboration and engagement; it has to look, feel, and act useful. Meghan explains that one common obstacle to user adoption is feeling like the technology is unable to accomplish any more of the heavy lifting than what we already have. But if social software is not only truly integrated but can also leverage its unique position to generate meaningful intelligence, there’s the added value. The shift must be initiated and mandated by leadership, asserts Meghan; it should be presented as a clear driver of organizational change, not a byproduct of it.

Angela Ashenden reiterates this point in her article for CMSWire Let your social collaboration use cases lead the way. Angela explains that improving collaboration within an organization is not just about getting people to use a new tool, it’s about getting them to think and behave differently, in a more open, cooperative and less competitive way than many are used to. In order to achieve this, Angela suggests that companies focus on the business need when implementing social software, both at an enterprise-wide level, but importantly, at the level of employees who are crying out for a better way of working.

In his article The sticking point with social collaboration tools, Stowe Boyd cites an Altimeter report that found that deployed social collaboration tools aren’t widely used. He quotes Charlene Li of Altimeter Group who suggests that the reason that these tools aren’t being adopted generally is because senior leaders don’t adopt them. But Stowe posits a different reason: leaders and rank-and-file workers may share the same aversion to these solutions. Stowe suggests that perhaps they simply don’t help people get their work done, and instead slow everything down. He argues that this may happen because enterprise social networks naturally lead the workforce towards an excess of communication, and as a result, people avoid them. However, he states that effective work culture for our accelerating digital economy significantly changes the demands on leaders. Instead, Stowe says, leaders need to create a context in which the impediments to operation and cooperation, such as hypercommunication, are minimised.

The shift to the mobile enterprise

Katherine Noyes asks The mobile-enabled enterprise: Are we there yet? in her article for CIO.com. Katherine cites an IDC report that states that IT organizations will dedicate at least 25 percent of their software budgets to mobile application development, deployment and management by 2017. By the same year, the vast majority of line-of-business apps will be built for mobile-first consumption, IDC predicts, and for competitive necessity at least as often as for efficiency or productivity. Katherine explains that the BYOD (bring your own device) trend, in which employees bring their own mobile devices into the workplace, is one key factor contributing to this massive shift in enterprise computing. Katherine explains this as an extension of the consumerisation trend seen in enterprise technology more broadly: people want to have the same mobile tools at work that they’ve become accustomed to in their personal lives.

In her article for Forbes, Maribel Lopez explores what mobile cloud means for your business. Maribel cites a CTIA study which revealed that 1.3 billion smartphones were sold in the U.S. in 2014, and a Lopez Research survey which showed that 65 percent of U.S. firms already have BYOD programmes. We live in a mobile plus cloud world, says Maribel, and while each of these technology trends has its own challenges and merits, companies are increasingly thinking of how the intersection of mobile and cloud will change their business. She explains that cloud computing provides a critical role in helping mobile achieve this value proposition, and cloud is at the core of enabling new service innovation. Many of today’s most highly regarded mobile services, such as file sync and share and streaming content services, couldn’t exist without the cloud, she says. Maribel concludes by stating that rather than building a mobile strategy and a cloud strategy, companies should be thinking of these things as combined and must evaluate how mobile and cloud differ from the existing PC landscape.

Mobile was big in the news in April for another reason too: Google’s announcement that they will penalise websites that aren’t mobile friendly. Ernie Smith wrote about this for Associations Now, in his article Mobile friendly design: no longer a nice to have. Ernie states that over the past few years, Google has been putting a lot of energy into pushing website owners to cater to mobile customers, who are becoming an important part of the online ecosystem. Since April 21, Ernie explains, the company will start counting mobile-friendliness in its all-important algorithms and responsive sites, rather than dedicated mobile platforms, are the preferred way to go. “Responsive design” is a simple phrase, says Ernie, that perhaps downplays the complexity and scale that many organizations will face in trying to implement it.

HighQ’s Arham Khan wrote a helpful guide for law firm marketers trying to get their heads around what this algorithm change might mean for law firm websites. Arham explains why law firms should be concerned about the change, citing recent studies showing that 93% of online experiences starting with a search engine and around 71% of searches resulting in a page one organic click, indicating that it’s clear that SEO should be a priority for every law firm. He says that if a law firm’s website isn’t SEO friendly, they’re missing a huge opportunity; one that their competitors will capitalise on.


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