Why employee device management is now a winning boardroom conversation

Author: Jason Fairburn, Co-founder and COO, Devicie

Why employee device management is now a winning boardroom conversation

When considering solutions to pitch to the board, employee device management is one that would be among the last on the list for a CIO.

I think there’s a fairly strong consensus among senior IT and security folk that it is one of the least sexy IT topics out there. For so long it’s been seen as a BAU expectation. In reality, it’s often a repetitive slog that causes more headaches than it does decent outcomes. When you look under the bonnet, there’s usually a bunch of hidden complexities that take the time of already scarce, often highly paid IT resources and cause a lousy employee experience.

I would also argue that another reason why employee device management hasn’t made it into the boardroom is because no one has ever found a solution worth shouting about. It’s been a can of worms, raising more questions than answers, not to mention time and dollars. Until now…

In 2022, the opportunity for a winning conversation about employee device management has never been better. It’s a subject that is now worth talking about, especially with your executive team and board.

The changing threat landscape coupled with advances in technology has completely turned employee device management around. It now has the potential to enable business in a way that before now has not been possible.

Stronger employee device security, increased productivity, better use of resources, higher levels of employee satisfaction and ongoing compliance are just the tip of the iceberg.

A new world

There are two driving factors behind this opportunity: the heightened risk of a remote-first world and the accessibility of the right tech.

Indeed, technology adoption is already on the rise; research commissioned to IDG shows 90 per cent of IT leaders report digital transformation has accelerated over the past 18 months alone.

Then there’s COVID, which continues to be a key driver in cybersecurity investments. Afterall, with the increase in remote workers comes an increase in the number of entry points for cyber criminals.

Adding to security concerns is the looming threat of a global cyber war; even the ACSC has issued an alert urging organisations to bolster their security.

Cyber criminals are targeting every possible attack vector, and end-user devices are high on their list.

Faced with these threats, there has never been a better time to bring the conversation of employee device management and security into the boardroom.

Automation, baby

Advances in cloud innovation and automation have changed the game for employee device management.

Before this tech, IT would spend hours or even days manually patching devices or responding to tickets for device support. Employees would wait days or even weeks for their devices to be provisioned or made compliant, resulting in gaps due to manual handling, loss of productivity and lower employee satisfaction.

Not to be bias, but this is why we built Devicie in the first place. We were tired of seeing so many problems with device fleets and sluggish employee device roll outs. The whole point of our platform is to plug the security versus productivity gap on employee devices without the headaches, and automation plays a huge part of this.

Thanks to automation, employee device management is not the burden it once was. Our Devicie platform makes employee device management a business enabler, offering victories for employees, executives, the board, the CEO and the security professional. All that’s needed is a new lens to see the opportunity and tangible ROI.

Outsourcing, but not as you know it

By automating employee device management, organisations can retire any plans they had of building out a new standard operating environment (SOE) from scratch.

The real solution is outsourcing the SOE and redeploying skilled IT resources to focus on bigger and better projects.

In a world already crying out for more skilled IT resources, no one is going to lose their job from automation that simply enables IT to do their jobs, better.

This concept of automating a secure, modern workplace as a service might be foreign to some, but it’s a story worth telling to change mindsets around employee device management and to gain trust.

Changing mindsets

Ask most IT folk how they feel about employee device management and their eyes will glaze over. Most agree it’s a painful part of the job that usually results in a best-efforts compromise. This is hardly anyone’s fault. The fact is technology has failed to empower IT to deliver genuinely positive outcomes – no matter how many expensive resources are thrown at it.

And while there’s a strong case to be had for employee device management and security (we’ll come back to this), many people struggle to get past their own prejudices. For example, many board members might be former security or IT professionals haunted by a previous experience of a failed end-user device roll out. Others might believe their existing EDR software already covers their employee device security and management.

Making a case for employee device management requires a fundamental shift in mindset without pointing blame at the end user or the IT team tasked with deploying a solution. It’s as much an education piece of the risk versus value as it is an opportunity to dispel misplaced fears on job losses, budget blowouts or other unfounded unknowns.

In today’s world, organisations need the ability to protect end users the same way they need to protect their data and networks, especially when those users have constant access to the data and networks.

Automating employee device management provides an opportunity to secure people and data through one platform to enable all employees to work safely and productively with a high level of confidence.

Gaining trust through demonstrable ROI and business value

Automated device management and security is a huge business enabler with the power to transform serious business concerns into competitive advantage. While the tech is impressive, it’s more interesting to talk about how the solution aligns with the business to achieve strategic goals from the top down.

There are multiple fields to address, in both a quantitative and qualitative way:

  • Monetary: Automated employee device security can often reduce costs by as much as 70%.
  • Operational efficiencies: Automated employee device security enables IT to redirect their focus away from corporate infrastructure to projects that drive innovation.
  • Risk: End-user security risk is a subset of enterprise risk management that can be mitigated through ongoing compliance, visibility and reporting.
  • HR: Remote end-user device onboarding coupled with automated application lifecycle management means employees are ready to work on their devices from initial sign on, fuelling productivity and employee satisfaction.
  • Security: Automated deployment of security controls and updates to applications and systems means devices are always secure and aligned with best practice frameworks including the ACSC Essential Eight.
  • Visibility: Comprehensive dashboards show a breakdown of SLAs and broad estimates on time and cost savings.

The case for accelerated digital transformation is also worth making and can be demonstrated by comparison of traditional employee device management solutions versus those that are automated, cloud-native and outsourced.

Just as important as the results is the need to communicate in board language. The board isn’t interested in technical jargon, but rather business outcomes and results. Reading the room, understanding the audience and making the solution strategically relevant is key in getting the main messages across the line.

Employee device management is having a renaissance and is well worthy of a conversation with the board. Not only that, but it’s a winning conversation that will offer big time benefits for everyone. Reach out for a chat on how you can make a winning pitch to elevate your employee device management and security now and well into the future.

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