Increasingly, businesses are deploying iPads to replace workers’ laptops and more expensive computing hardware and while it’s an incredibly useful mobile device, there are some things that your laptop can do that iPad can’t. So you might be asking yourself: how can I use my iPad for business work?

iPad has quickly become the easiest, fastest and most portable device for accessing documents on the go. While it can be easy to interact with many types of files once they’re actually on your iPad, there’s been no easy way to get them there to begin with. And once you have a file, it’s not always easy to manipulate it in the way you’d expect, or share it in the secure way you’re used to. It’s also not always easy to physically use iPad for business since it doesn’t have a keyboard.

Here we offer up some easy software and hardware solutions to the most common issues with iPad. These will help you get more work done and enjoy your iPad more, no matter what you’re using it for.

The problem: How do I securely access work documents on iPad for viewing, annotating, editing and sharing?

iPad lacks a USB drive (which isn’t secure anyway) as well as an accessible file system, so getting files onto the device has always been a major sticking point for business users. To get files onto iPad, it requires the use of Apple software products like iTunes or iCloud—and even then not all file types are supported.

In order to get files onto an iPad, business users tend to email attachments to themselves, which is familiar, but it’s an unnatural interruption of workflow. For IT, it also presents an incredible security and compliance nightmare, because they have no insight or control over data leaving or entering the data infrastructure. Workers are also using services like iCloud, Dropbox or Box to store content. These are easy to use and allow for convenient sharing with colleagues, but they lack granular IT control over files and create separate data silos (meaning files exist in multiple places at once and because they don’t sync, versions might be different). Using your iPad for business means marrying your need for easy access with IT’s need to make sure data stays secure and centralized—and it turns out that those are not mutually exclusive.

The solution: Choose software that enables anytime, anywhere access to content without jeopardizing granular IT control

If you want a quick, but not ideal fix, try some of the apps that enable you to essentially VPN into your PC back in the office. Some options like LogMeIn and iTeleport offer varying degrees of access. Keep in mind that the interface isn’t smooth enough to stream video, so be sure that it meets your needs.

Huddle customers can use Huddle for iPad, which securely extends the entire corporate data ecosystem to iPad such that IT can easily control permissions while workers always have the latest version of their work while on the go. Rather than simply providing a portal to content, Huddle for iPad includes an intelligent recommendation engine that delivers only the content that each worker will want, based on his or her previous behavior. Armed with their important files, workers can do even more: view, edit, share, and collaborate on content—including creating and managing tasks and approvals—as though they were at their computer.

The problem: I can’t interact with files on my iPad like I would on my laptop

Software that enables workers to view, annotate or edit files on iPad in an intuitive way is still playing a catching up game. Because iPad operates differently than laptops, users navigate integrations with third-party editing services that link to other services, including Huddle.

The file editing solution: QuickOffice Pro HD


QuickOffice Pro HD is a powerful office editing suite and file manager that works seamlessly with email attachments, local files, and cloud storage accounts so users can work anytime, anywhere – online and offline. Users can create and edit Microsoft® Office documents, spreadsheets, and presentations on the go. The QuickOffice File Manager enables users to access and manage files and secure file transfer on iPad and sharing features allow users to publish content using e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more.

The CRM solution: Fileboard

Fileboard automates CRM for sales teams and helps them manage presentation collateral, attachments and files online and on iPad. Fileboard makes it easy for sales road warriors to keep Salesforce up to date, access useful sales and marketing materials and sign and process contracts with just a tap, online or offline.

The PDF solution: Readdle PDF Expert

Readdle PDF Expert allows users to read and annotate PDF documents, highlight text, make notes, create notes, sign documents and draw on the go. Saved documents are compatible with Preview and Adobe Acrobat. PDF Expert is the only iPad app that enables users to fill PDF forms.

The problem: I’m used to a keyboard and iPad doesn’t have one

We hear you. Not having a keyboard is fine if you’re not doing serious writing or editing but if you’re a typical business user and you do some amount of keyboard-intensive work, the touch screen gets daunting. Fortunately, using your iPad for business doesn’t mean you have to forego the convenience of a keyboard.

The solution: Bluetooth keyboards of all shapes and sizes

For the true Applehead, check out the Apple Wireless keyboard ($69)—but be aware that it’s the same size as a standard keyboard, so it won’t fit in a small bag.

Other options come in a folio style (it’s built into a folding case) and the Zaggfolio ($100) is convenient because it makes it easy to type on your lap without a desk or table.

If folios aren’t your thing, consider some clamshell keyboards that fold up like a laptop. Check out ClamCase ($149) for a nice hard shell keyboard and case.

And lastly, for those who love their case and would rather have a standalone keyboard that isn’t attached to a case, consider Logitech Tablet Keyboard for iPad ($70).

With all of these tools, you’ll be well on your way to maximizing efficiency while you work and eliminating the frustrated airport lounge iPad-to-laptop switcheroo.

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