Personal Small Business Enterprise

Protecting Your Assets: Armour Your Smartphones and Tablets

Are you doing enough to protect your mobile devices?

Smartphones and tablets are increasingly business-critical tools that often get more use than traditional laptop and desktop PCs. Because they’re in constant use and are routinely carried and used 24/7 at work, at home, en route and virtually everywhere else, they’re exposed to the kinds of situations no desktop computer would likely ever see.

Armoured cases might seem expensive at first – typically approximately $40 and up for smartphones and $70 and up for tablets – and the style conscious among us might balk at turning a sleek, light mobile device into something decidedly heavier and less sleek. In some instances, style-conscious employees may choose silicon or rubberized cases that protect the devices from minor bumps and scratches, but offer little to no protection in an actual fall. Armoured cases are integral to keeping road warriors working no matter what happens out in the field, and as a result should be priority purchases before these devices find their way into employees’ hands.

New designs raise the risks
In many respects, the case for armoured cases has never been stronger. The accelerating trend toward larger smartphones and tablets with thinner chassis and bezels only adds to the risk factor. Ever higher amounts of exposed glass can turn even a seemingly innocuous fall into a shattering experience. The industry move to strengthened glass might suggest confidence that these devices can now withstand a minor fall, but that confidence would be misplaced, as even the strongest will shatter if it’s dropped onto a hard enough surface. No matter what the marketing materials might suggest, there’s no such thing as breakproof glass. I speak from personal – and repeated – experience.

You and your employees are typically only one fall away from an expensive and potentially risky lesson. That’s because when a smartphone or tablet is damaged in a fall, it affects the employee’s mobile productivity while it’s being repaired or replaced. Replicating the full suite of apps – and the customization applied both by and on behalf of the employee – on a loaner device is often difficult to impossible, and the resulting downtime could be damaging to the bottom line. And that assumes that a loaner device is even available.

If your employees are far from home, replacement may not even be an option. And with more road warriors leaving their laptops at home in favour of tablets and smartphones, a fall-damaged device can easily render them completely disconnected until they get back to the office.

Breach potential
More ominously, the data already on the device can be more easily compromised while it is en route for service. For some organizations in highly sensitive sectors such as financial services, health care and government, this can trigger a breach of regulatory compliance and open the organization up to significant liabilities. The direct and indirect costs of fall-damaged mobile devices are orders of magnitude greater than the relatively low price tag on a typical armoured case.

Smartphone replacement coverage can ease the financial burden of a broken device, but it’s even better to not have a broken device in the first place. A growing range of stylish armoured cases from vendors like Otterbox and Tech21 makes it easy to maximize protection without compromising looks or ease of use, and should be considered a mandatory acquisition whenever new devices are acquired and deployed. Even in bring-your-own-device (BYOD) scenarios, corporate policy should dictate that cases be used whenever the device is being deployed in a professional context.

The bottom line
Armoured cases may compromise the sleek and light design of the latest smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. But nothing brings productivity to a crashing halt more quickly than a shattered screen after a seemingly innocent tumble. Consider it cheap insurance for all of your road warriors, and don’t let them hit the road without appropriate protection.

Do you use armoured cases? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments section below.

By Carmi Levy
The Bell Blog team

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