How to meet security challenges in our new remote workplace

Author: Martin McGregor, Co-founder and CEO, Devicie

When COVID-19 spread across the globe in 2020, many organisations were forced to accelerate their digital transformation to ensure business continuity.

By now, we’ve accepted the ‘new norm’ – a workplace where organisations enable employees to work where they want, on multiple devices, not necessarily procured by the employer. It became clear that security by design is an important part of lowering risk and avoiding mass disruption. But what hasn’t resonated as much is the importance of people in the mix, particularly when it comes to providing them with a secure and productive work environment as part of this ‘new norm’.

As we enter the post-pandemic world, it’s time to address the fact that device security is only as good as the end-user experience. In this blog, I’m going to explain why end-user security, or a positive end-user experience, cannot exist without the other. I will highlight what I believe to be the top seven challenges of current end-user device management and offer a roadmap for organisations to move to the future state, where security and a positive end-user experience not only coexist, but work hand-in-hand to deliver benefits for everyone.

Security and productivity – no small feat in the new norm

Organisations now know that enabling their teams to work securely from anywhere, on multiple devices is not an optional benefit. But with competing interests from various frontiers, this is no small feat. First up, you have employees wanting to work seamlessly and productively, wherever they are, on their device of choice. You have business leaders wanting to smash their goals and make a profit. And, of course, you have IT and security teams wanting to keep data and systems secure.

While prioritising security may deliver compliance and data protection benefits, this approach can hamper employee productivity. And when security gets in the way of productivity, employees create their own workarounds, inadvertently increasing the attack surface and creating visibility gaps for IT teams.

The reality is most IT management systems – whether traditional, hybrid or even modern – do not meet the needs of organisations and their employees in a hyper distributed workforce. And that’s just the beginning.

The top seven challenges of end-user device management

Any relevant survey of employees or IT teams highlights that there are many end-user device management challenges facing organisations today. My colleagues and I identified a view of the top seven:

  1. Employees suffering from unproductive devices rather than waiting for an IT resource to fix problems
  2. Increasing cybersecurity attacks on end-users
  3. Lack of visibility and control over remote devices accessing the corporate environment
  4. Increasing need for and shortage of specialist IT and security skills
  5. Skilled IT teams wasting time performing manual, repetitive and mundane tasks
  6. Increasing number and types of devices and operating systems to support
  7. The time and effort involved in managing and deploying multiple devices.

So what can be done to address these challenges?

Picture it: A place where security meets a positive end-user experience

The future of end-user device management must be one where security meets productivity. Uncompromising security can only be achieved if security controls are implemented in a way that is an enabler of both business productivity and an enriching user experience.

While the challenges of remote work and increasing cybercrime have accelerated the need for change, achieving this future state has not proved an easy journey. The good news is that getting there no longer requires an army of skilled experts, infrastructure overheads or big IT projects.

The only thing it requires is a growth mindset that embraces moving quickly to the future state.

SOE as a service

With maturing cloud technologies and innovation in agentless device onboarding, it no longer makes sense to initiate a lengthy Standard Operating Environment (SOE) project that may or may not be successful. Building and managing a corporate SOE will not make any business more competitive. In fact, the opposite is now true for most organisations.

The real opportunity is to leverage best-of-breed technologies that are expertly managed to provide a high performance SOE as a service. In this approach, organisations subscribe to the solution, rather than own it. Check out my blog here to learn more about this approach.

A chance to thrive in the new norm

At Devicie, we passionately believe that end users shouldn’t have to be technology or security experts to operate their digital workspace effectively.

We envisage a future where businesses thrive in the new norm by leveraging cloud-native, agentless solutions that harnesses automation to achieve better outcomes, faster. Better security and user experience alongside unparalleled efficiencies and visibility and control.

We’ve just written a how-to guide on this vision, which includes nine key features that should form part of the future of end-user device management for organisations of every size, and the steps you can take to get there. Be sure to grab a copy, otherwise, feel free to contact me directly for a chat or even a demo of Devicie in your environment.

Related resources

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