Office spaces look a lot different than they used to – instead of sitting at identical PCs in on-site computer pools, employees are bringing a wide variety of their own devices to work. They may be eschewing laptops altogether, predominantly using a tablet with an attached keyboard or a smartphone for accomplishing key tasks. Or there may be empty seats, as employees telecommute without missing a step in terms of collaboration or productivity. There may also be a lot less paper, as organizations choose email, filesharing and digital filing systems to store important documents and information.

While these changes can be positive developments for the modern enterprise office, they also pose challenges for security, governance and accountability. The digital world is much larger and more complicated than the real one, at least for enterprise concerns, and so business practices must change accordingly. Digitally stored information is potentially accessible to anyone, while paperless offices can end up chained to the whims of devices and networks.

Fortunately, enterprise cloud computing is up to these modern challenges. The cloud promotes not only the awareness, accountability and transparency necessary for organizations implementing a BYOD practice, but the security, reliability and redundancy to ensure that a paperless office doesn’t go up in (digital) flames.

Enterprise clouds are smart about smartphones
Many businesses are having trouble adjusting to the BYOD environment, a reality which is creating productivity and security problems across organizations, as well as the occasional bad blood between IT personnel and employees who disagree on usage. One reason for this disconnect is that these organizations aren’t nearly agile enough to keep up with changing paradigms and new technological developments. Employee smartphones, laptops and tablets may not be supported by the infrastructure in place and it may be difficult to scale it to mirror BYOD’s breakneck pace. With enterprise clouds, however, responding to BYOD concerns in a timely and effective manner is a breeze, wrote Forbes contributor Joe Lazauskas. Calling the cloud an “unsung hero” of the BYOD trend, he wrote that many cloud service providers are quick to provide solutions for remote access and multi-platform networking.

In particular, the cloud takes the load off of IT staffs, many of which are having difficulty wrapping their heads (and policies) around the many facets of BYOD. The enterprise cloud framework can replace legacy hardware and software that is difficult and resource-intensive to upgrade, and manage a good amount of daily IT concerns, freeing up these key personnel for work in more critical business capacities.

IaaS clouds create the paperless perimeter
While organizations dealing with overflowing, poorly organized filing systems would be hard-pressed to affirm that their way is the best one, the paperless office can create some concerns. According to Accounting Today contributor Doug Sleeter, paperless offices managed by on-premises digital filing can create vulnerabilities. He pointed to the USB connections, open wireless access and unattended workstations as all posing risks to data security. With enterprise IaaS clouds, companies can leverage additional safety layers to mitigate physical threats. Additionally, a paperless office will be heavier on data consumption and sharing, meaning that hardware has to be up to the task. CSPs generally have much faster hardware and better connectivity at their disposal, making them an ideal choice for businesses worried about bandwidth and latency.