SharePoint and Mobile Computing: 3 Tips

As employees become more mobile, it's changing how SharePoint is being used, SharePoint consultant Russ Basiura said. "In healthcare and mobility, everything is happening fast."

Basiura, is CEO and chief SharePoint architect of RJB Consulting, which works with a variety of companies on their SharePoint projects. He used as an example a client that's a hospital system in Maryland that got into SharePoint 2003, then SharePoint 2007, and now 2010. The hospital system's internal SharePoint admin team consists of anywhere from three to five admins, and Basiura's company does their special projects as well as ongoing projects.

"Hospitals are having troubles keeping up. One day a doctor walks in and connects his phone and all that data is exposed. They're seeing more patient information ending up in non-clinical areas. They have nurses texting patient results to doctors on their phones."

Basiura sees challenges that many face in SharePoint these days, no matter what industry. The hospital, he says, is the perfect example of the consumerization of IT--"Physicians want to bring in their iPads and smartphones. The challenge is to control information across those devices so it's not exposed."

In that case, "We spent time on SharePoint specifically, giving nurses the ability to find doctors using People search, using the presence capabilities, using Lync and SharePoint. Lync gives you the ability to secure and manage. When a user attaches to a Lync account, the organization now can remotely manage the phone and even wipe it, if needed," so they can meet HIPAA and other compliance regulations.

Are your users nudging you toward making SharePoint more mobile? Here are three tips Basiura offers to make it less painful:

1. Get users on more recent versions of mobile devices. "The older devices, you're going to have more challenges with users accessing a SharePoint 2010 environment. It's more of an HTML compliance--they don't handle authentication. You'll never get everybody on a single mobile platform, by the way."

2. Start small with Microsoft Lync. "It's new to most users and companies, so to start, use it in small chunks. It can be a monster in terms of numbers of servers and what you do with it. Start small, use the presence and IM it provides you inside of SharePoint. When you get into video conferencing, VOIP, it drives up cost and gets complicated. A simple deployment still helps users and helps an organization to stay secure."

3. You'll have to use third-party tools. "Right now with the SharePoint 2010 environment, it doesn't out of the box provide all the tools you need to manage information. Other third-party tools will have to be leveraged--for example, CipherPoint, HiSoftware Compliance Sheriff--you will need a third party."

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