Humans not (always) necessary: The perks of virtual device enablement, security, and management
by Marty McGregor, Co-founder and CEO
May 24, 2021
Removing humans from device management is a triple win for security, IT teams and employee success.
Organisations are shifting away from an exclusive on-premises focus and rushing to the cloud, with Gartner predicting that 2021 cloud spending in Australia is expected to increase by 18.4% over 2020, to reach $10.6 billion.
There are so many benefits of moving to the cloud, and I am a cloud-first advocate through and through. However, it is important for cloud-curious and cloud-focused organisations to consider what they might lose in the transition.
Remote working is indeed, working, in part thanks to cloud solutions. Many companies are embracing the shift and Forbes reports that some high profile companies are planning to move their employees permanently to a remote work environment.
The future is a hybrid scenario with on-premises and remote workers, so it is important to apply security just as effectively for remote workers as it is for those who work on-premise.
Today, organisations are attempting to solve end-user device enablement, security, and management with people rather than automation, which creates problems, inefficiencies and compromises.
When IT must physically touch a device to set-up, secure or update it, both the end-user and IT team’s experience is diminished.
For many remote employees, the IT team orders and builds their device in the office, then ships it to them. Couriers are now part of the enablement plan. When something inevitably goes wrong with a device, it gets sent back to the office, or sometimes IT travels to the employee, then spends half a day reconfiguring it. Either option is an expensive IT time sink, as well as an irritating productivity loss for the employee.
Understandably, employees are resistant to this hands-on approach. Often, their stop-gap solution is to suffer for longer with device problems, or worse still, try and fix or find a workaround themselves. Meanwhile, organisations let employee devices fall out of date and out of compliance. It is too hard and expensive to address every device, and often IT do not have visibility over the entire fleet.
Contrary to many current remote device management approaches, relying on agents isn’t the answer either. For a start, the agent itself needs a privileged install, requiring the same ‘back to base’ approach. To achieve automation, a process or system must be able to access the device and manage it, without the need to install agents manually. In the absence of native ecosystems, you can only deploy agents manually. So it’s back to the office we go!
The Adobe Workfront’s State of Work 2021 report identifies that 32 per cent of workers had left their job because the organisation’s technology was a barrier to good work. This report further identifies an increase in workers turning down jobs with out-of-date technology, and applying for jobs at companies that have better-implemented systems. Outdated, manual, and agent-driven approaches have big consequences for organisations beyond the security risks.
Technology advancements mean that moving to the cloud now presents a real opportunity for organisations to radically elevate the way they manage end-user devices, and the associated software applications and access employees use on them. End-user devices can transform from perhaps their biggest security vulnerability, into a security asset that sits alongside a positive user device experience. The security and productivity dilemma no longer needs to be an impossible choice.
By using the native capabilities of operating systems, devices can be automatically onboarded, repaired and rebuilt over the internet, with just an end-user login required.
Apart from the obvious improvement to the employee experience, this also moves IT away from performing monotonous tasks like imaging or reimaging devices, and manually configuring applications. It’s less work, and they gain complete visibility and control of their fleet. Let automation do the grunt work, and enable everyone to spend their time on more strategic challenges.
At Devicie, our goal is to make end users a catalyst for ensuring security is done right. One of the ways we do this is by getting new employees onboarded faster and enabling them to autonomously return their device to a state of known-good when things inevitably go wrong. In turn, organisations achieve the kind of security coverage they need.
Devicie allows every single user to be protected via a continuing, automated process, from the moment they onboard their device. Even before a user logs in to their new device, Devicie has already applied security controls by integrating with the native capabilities of operating systems and software ecosystems. Devicie then facilitates consistent management of all supported devices for streamlined system patching and updating of security policies and benchmarks. No agents are required on end user devices, and there are no gaps in fleet visibility.
PointsBet is one of our clients that has had, and continues to experience, hyper-growth across the globe with the help of Devicie. By using Devicie, PointsBet has been able to expand to multiple countries without the need to create IT operations in those locations. Instead, the IT team based in Australia can remotely manage its fleet anywhere in the world, with all devices built and managed over the internet. Employee device onboarding and set-up has been slashed from several days (or longer) to just 30 minutes, with no need for any hands-on IT assistance.
As someone who has been dealing with this challenge for over 20 years, I know the best way to address device security effectively is to make the user’s device experience both effortless and positive. It is also critical to free up IT teams from the time-consuming, repetitive and mundane task of manual device management.
You’ll end up with happier and more productive employees, while upgrading your end-user devices to be a powerful security tool for your business, instead of being your Achilles heel.
I’d love to hear from anyone who’s interested to understand more about automating end-user device security and management for your organisation.