New Year and new resolutions. Any enterprise that hasn't made its content mobile must surely be looking at this as one of their resolutions for 2013. But if you’re main enterprise content management system is SharePoint, or even if it’s just one of your systems, how do you make it secure when making it mobile?

Mobile SharePoint

It’s not that there are particular issues around SharePoint that make mobilizing it more problematic than other systems. It’s just that over past year we have seen the number of SharePoint deployments in the enterprise increase dramatically, and with SharePoint 2013 on the horizon, it's likely that one of the big issues this year in the information management space will be SharePoint and mobile.

This is particularly true given the fact that everyone is now talking SharePoint online and SharePoint in Office 365. Enterprises are also looking to mobilize their workforce. Combine the two and you have a mobile workforce that is looking to access its SharePoint content on the road and securely.

Mobile file sharing vendor Accellion has been looking at this problem and in a recent white paper has addressed some of the security issues that enterprises need to address before mobilizing all their SharePoint content.

This has become particularly important with the rise of Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) policies in many enterprises, a subject that  Dan Latendre, CEO of Igloo, identified as rising trend at last year’s Advanced Intranet and Portal conference in Amsterdam.

According to this paper entitled Mobilize SharePoint Securely: Top 5 Enterprise Requirements 90% of US enterprises have now adopted BYOD policies, even if some, like IBM, remain to be convinced about the value of it. 

On top of this, only yesterday, we saw from Gartner that IT spending is set to rise this year pushed largely by devices, particularly tablets and smartphones. We also saw that the amount of money spent is likely to fall as tablets and android devices become more competitively priced.

So, over the coming year it is likely that enterprises will see more and more diverse devices entering the workplace which, unless managed correctly, will create all kinds of headaches for enterprise IT departments.

ECM Investments, BYOD, IT

Looking a little closer at SharePoint deployments, according to Accellion, 17,000 organizations now run SharePoint as their Enterprise CMS with 67% of all the organizations that have SharePoint providing it to all enterprise users, bringing the total number of SharePoint licenses sold to date up to 125 million. Many enterprises in both the public and private sector are using it as the system of choice for storing data internally, and for sharing that data across the organization.

Combining SharePoint and BYOD policies has created a whole set of new problems for IT departments. Instead of operating homogenous environments using a single operating system, they now have to manage environments that come with in-house servers, third party cloud servers and a mix of laptops, desktops, smartphones and tablets that may or may not be working off the same OS as the enterprise. Add to this the fact that most workers are not replacing their desktop or laptop with a device but just adding a new device into the mix, Accellion estimates that the average worker is now using 2.8 devices at the moment and will be using three or more by 2014.

The needs of workers and the challenge for enterprises is to enable workers to use these devices to access consistent, up-to-date views of those files so that they will be working on the most recent version of the file.

In the classic IT-centric model, users would access their corporate network using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) from their device, enabling them browse their SharePoint environments at will, find content, manipulate that content and then save it back into SharePoint.