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Mobile Computing 101

Being away from the office doesn't mean you can't have a productive day. Find out how mobile technology can help.
December 31, 2007
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/189532

At times you probably feel like staying holed up in your office, enjoying the heat or air conditioning and drinking mint tea while checking e-mails. Unfortunately those days never come since you have clients to meet, employees to hire, events to attend, an accountant to see and maybe a family to care for.

How can you possibly get everything done while spending so much time out of the office? By leveraging and investing in the power of mobile technology.

A smart mobile technology strategy enables you to have your office with you, wherever you are. If you're in a client's office, you'll never have to exclaim, "I left the file in my office." If you find yourself five states away you won't have to kick yourself for not bringing a presentation with you. When someone calls or faxes your office, the voice mail and fax are easily reachable even if you're not physically in the office.

Hardware
The device you use to power your mobile office is critical. Almost every small business uses a notebook computer, which may be all you want or need. Many are also using smart phones, which blend the functionality of a cell phone, e-mail access and web browser into one device.

Connectivity
To complete your mobile technology solution you'll need connectivity to the internet, which you can do in several ways.

Security and remote access to your office files are two other important aspects of a mobile technology solution.

The data on your mobile device should be password-protected and encrypted to prevent casual thieves from accessing your data. But if your password is guessed or otherwise compromised your data isn't safe. Encrypting your data will ensure that it's indecipherable to unauthorized users.

As you transmit data, make sure that the connection between your device and the wireless point is secure. If you're using Wi-Fi to connect to an airline reservation system, you don't want hackers capturing your information as it travels. Instead, make sure your connection is encrypted by only accessing websites or databases that encrypt the information transmitted between you and them.

Remote Access to Your Office
Accessing your files remotely is one of the biggest advantages of mobile computing.

Another thing to consider for an optimal mobile computing experience is e-mail. You can set up your e-mail so that you can access it directly from your provider. Or if you have an e-mail server in the office, you can configure your mobile device to work with your e-mail server so that you have access to your e-mail on your mobile device and also in your office.

Ramon Ray is Entrepreneur.com's "Tech Basics" columnist and editor of Smallbiztechnology.com. He's the author of Technology Solutions for Growing Businesses and currently serves on the board of directors and the technology committee for the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce.