The days of new employees going to the IT department to get the password for their office computers are long gone. Today, the majority of our work is done online with cloud services, conferencing tools and remote accesses ensuring that everything runs smoothly. And while this flexibility is ideal for most employees, IT departments are left with a mammoth task of ensuring data protection and security at all times without negatively impacting the user experience. On top of all this is the fact that there are a wide-range of devices being used and IT don’t generally have physical access to staff notebooks, tablets and smartphones, not to mention that setting up, provisioning and managing accounts requires extensive communication.
Wherever there are recurring, routine tasks to be done, automation can help. In this case, when the computer or smartphone is turned on for the first time, they automatically receive the configurations assigned to them by IT. And it doesn’t stop at automated set up. Devices can be managed in this way through out their entire lifecycle. All it takes is for the tools to be connected via an effective device management solutions, which is available from various manufacturers. Those looking to outsource some tasks won’t go far wrong with Bechtle’s SMART Workplace.
The one aspect these solutions have in common is that they allow all end devices and also individual applications to be managed from one single console, facilitating rollouts of security patches and updates with minimal effort. Another advantage is that monitoring of and compliance with company policies and data protection regulations is child’s play, even when employees use their own personal devices.
By no means should the Modern Workplace be seen as purely something the IT department has to handle. Rather, it demands a cultural shift towards flat hierarchies and agile working and a complete rethink of communication and sharing data. For this reason, it’s essential that the Modern Workplace is considered from a strategic point of view and with the IT department, management, departments and users working closely together. At first glance, it seems an impossible task to balance easy access to resources with security, but, with the right solutions, it’s no problem at all.
As ever, the greatest risks to the IT infrastructure are posed, not by hackers, but by careless employees. For convenience, many still use the same easy-to-remember password for several accounts and if hackers get their hands on them, the world is their oyster. Unfortunately, calls to use secure passwords and only use those passwords once tend to fall on deaf ears.
Against this backdrop, responsible IT management today has to take different steps to ensure security. One example is multi-factor authentication (MFA), which we all know from online banking, and which authenticates users using at least two different methods. This could be a password plus biometric data or using another app for authentication.
In this instance, modern smartphones play into the hands of administrators as, for the most part, the devices can be used as a second method of authentication. Another option is to set up one single access point for all shared resources. Or in other words, single sign-on. This is beneficial as the more passwords a person has to remember, the greater the risk that they will be used multiple times. A zero trust concept is also a possibility. Until now, in many companies, all it takes is an employee to log in once before they have access to parts or even the entire network. A zero trust concept, on the other hand, only gives employees access to exactly the resources they need to do their work.
Employees working from home or on the road are one thing, and corporate IT is another. There aren’t many companies today that can do without cloud-based resources such as Software as a Service (SaaS) and for good reason as they mean maintenance and support are much simpler, or you don’t have to worry about these things at all. Plus, it’s incredibly easy to scale capacities up and down as required. The situation is quite different and much more expensive for physical workstations in an office.
IT admins can enjoy the best of both worlds. VPN is still seen as the best way to secure external access, but while they are useful, they create a lot of work and are prone to errors. However, when combined with modern device management, access to most cloud apps can be secured using MFA, too.
Want to find out more? Bechtle can help you design, set up and use these solutions.