GUEST ESSAY: The post-pandemic challenges of securely managing employee endpoints

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The pandemic-driven remote working brought about unforeseen challenges that the pre-pandemic corporate world would have never imagined. From transitioning to a work-from-home as a ‘perk’ to a ‘necessity’, the organizations had to realign their operations and do it fast, to keep the ships afloat.

Related: Deploying human sensors

Now that the dust seems to have settled on the novelty of remote working, there’s no doubt that remote working- whether organizations like it or not is here to say. This raises the concerns of corporate data security in remote working that still stand as a key challenge that organizations are trying to navigate, workforce productivity being the second.

Organizations need to have critical business data made available to the employees that work remotely- and this could include the devices carefully vetted and secured with corporate policies and provided by the organization, but could also include the devices that are not under the organization’s purview.

Fragmentation dilemma 

The modern employees demand flexibility and you simply can’t prevent employees from accessing work emails on their phones while they surf the beach or hike the mountains- nor does it add to your organization’s overall efficiency and productivity.

But this, along with the hugely fragmented devices and endpoints used in the virtual working environment adds to the security risks that can not only drain out the IT teams but also the CIOs to a great extent.

The associated challenges include the knowns- employees connecting to unknown, insecure networks, data sharing via non-work apps allowing hackers to make a grand entry but it also includes a set of unexpected threats that are unique to the remote working environment.

Kakarala

These include lurking devices (think home automation tools and other smart devices lying around in the same room your employee works or attends confidential meetings from) to sophisticated email phishing attacks using pseudo names of the CXOs (since, well everything is virtual).

Managing endpoints securely 

Another key aspect of endpoint management, that is not security, is ensuring that remote working adds value- both to the organization as well as the employees. Engaged employees are more productive and hence making sure that employees have access to up-to-date, relevant business resources at all times, are equipped with the right tools to get work done faster and can connect to their teams without glitches is not just essential, it is imperative.

As an organization, that’s quite a mountain of checkboxes to tick and can be challenging, especially when the IT team size is petite and the infrastructure cost has to be budgeted.

To address these concerns, organizations are actively engaging in conversations to make endpoint management smoother, more cost-effective and mutually beneficial.

It starts with educating the workforce (remote or otherwise) on security since your infrastructure and data are only as secure as your employees want them to be.

Tools and best practices

The next gradual step that organizations should take is accommodating BYOD to cut down on infrastructural costs while also enabling employees to leverage flexibility. When employees are empowered to use the device they love, it can be a game changer for their productivity.

Organizations can then seek out tools for driving innovation and engagement. This has to go beyond the conventional messaging platforms. A tool that can help employees quickly share, make calls, both video and voice, and also mark down the tasks they are working on can create a seamless engagement while effectively driving conversation and collaboration.

For SMBs or organizations that are just starting, this may seem overwhelming. This is also why looking for a solution with a holistic approach can be such a tipping point. Mobile device and endpoint management solutions are hence gaining rapid traction. It’s no longer the question of ‘whether’ organizations should opt for an MDM or not, but the question of ‘when’ and ‘how fast’.

Procuring an endpoint management solution is no longer difficult. Picking the right one that solves the business problem of your organization can be transformative. And not just that, a solution that can translate your concerns into scalable solutions, is customizable to suit your needs and yet is simple to use and is hard to find but not impossible.

About the essayist: Sriram Kakarala is the Vice President of Products at ProMobi Technologies. He is one of the innovative minds behind Scalefusion, mobile device and endpoint management solution for organizations.

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