The growth of consumerisation – the adoption of personal communications devices such as iPhones, iPads and tablets in a workplace environment – is both rapid and seemingly relentless. A new, young workforce using sophisticated technologies in their personal lives are putting bosses under pressure to allow them to use their preferred choice of device, rather than the often slower and less function-rich devices authorised by the company.

This brings with it significant potential advantages for the business, including greater agility, increased productivity and more resilience in maintaining business continuity. However, it also throws up a number of challenges, including managing an ever more diverse fleet of mobile devices, keeping costs from spiralling out of control and maintaining network security as the workforce becomes more flexible and geographically dispersed.

As barriers between business and social lives break down, tablet computers in particular offer an example of a consumer purchase which employees are keen to use as part of a more flexible way of working. Smaller and lighter than a PC, they are ideal for today’s worker on the move.

Equally good news from a mobility perspective is that tools are now coming onto the market, available from the App Store, which provide a fast, easy and secure way to instantly connect over the internet to a host Mac or PC from an iPad. By allowing people to access and work on their data, files, network and applications, this will transform the way people work, wherever, whenever and however they choose.

Best practice examples incorporate the highest levels of security and have easy-to-use controls built in, such as 300% zooming and panning for more detailed work. Full keyboard functionality includes special keys that make it possible to work on the iPad just like on a desktop or laptop computer.

These applications show just how quickly leading providers are responding to help businesses get the most from this rapidly-growing trend. SMEs in particular are well-placed to take advantage of the mobility these applications offer, in competing more strongly with larger, less flexible enterprise businesses.

Today’s workforce wants the flexibility to work wherever works best for them. As part of this transition, they require the support of secure, high-performing and reliable technology if the business is to realise the valuable benefits on offer and the employee achieve a better work/life balance.

One estate agency summed it up like this: “The new iPad app means there’s no longer any need to lug around a laptop or be connected. It’s easy to whip out the iPad and link to the network to immediately respond to any client request.”