Workforce management without privacy invasion

Issue 3 2021 Infrastructure

With more employees preferring to use their tools for work and new workstyles such as hotdesking and remote work, bring your own device (BYOD) is a good workplace management option. With all the security, management and privacy enhancements in all the major operating platforms, including iOS, Android, Windows and Mac OS, it is even easier to adopt BYOD.

Today companies need to focus on implementing an intelligence-driven digital workspace platform that combines access control, application management and unified endpoint management to help their organisation efficiently and securely deliver and manage any app on any device.

Ian Jansen van Rensburg.

Application management and security should be key focus areas and an organisation can accomplish this through containerisation such as that afforded by a solution like VMware’s WorkspaceOne. The reason selecting a BYOD or device/workforce management platform is so important is that, as in VMWare’s case, WorkspaceOne has capabilities such as government-grade AES 256-bit encryption and data loss prevention policies that can then be built into applications.

The knock-on effect of this ensures that you are building systems ready for a remote workforce in a highly regulated industry, including contractors. VMWare can offer these advanced capabilities without a mobile device management (MDM) profile on the device, reducing users’ privacy concerns.

Additionally, companies must focus on providing their workforce with a unified app catalogue (iStore/PlayStore look and feel). It is not just the ease-of-use benefit these offer but also that users need to benefit from single sign-on (SSO) to any app, including SaaS, web, native and even apps behind the firewall. In addition to the app catalogue, users need to be offered highly engaging services such as notifications, mobile flows (one-click workflows), employee contact cards and organisational charts, self-service tasks and FAQs (frequently asked questions). Even an AI-powered virtual assistant.

These features should complement device compliance attestation with built-in PIN enforcement, all available in an operating system depending on what version you are working on, without needing a mobile device management profile installed.

While some organisations choose to use mobile application management only, most customers adopt a complete mobile device management enrolment solution or a combination of options. Using MDM offers the most secure workforce mobility option as it ensures that IT controls the device and that the environment is suitable for employees rather than non-employees.

Leveraging cloud-based Unified Endpoint Management allows IT to assess the device compliance status in real-time and provide remediation if needed. This includes deploying a patch, updating a policy, or deploying a new version of an app – all of which can happen remotely if required. Complete device management leverages the operating system’s security capabilities such as device-level encryption while also allowing device compliance to be used in conditional access policies for any app launched. This is irrespective of whether the app is native, SaaS-based, on the web, or virtually hosted.

Solutions like VMware’s Workspace ONE platform included the tools needed to configure and control data collection and comply with privacy laws, enabling customers to create a trust framework within the organisation. For example, the Workspace One Privacy First Programme, built on Fair Information Practice Principles, is founded on two themes: helping organisations comply with privacy principles by offering privacy controls and providing transparency and choice to employees.

This programme allows businesses to successfully adopt BYOD through appropriate technology adoption coupled with user education. From an architecture perspective, Workspace ONE adheres to a privacy by design model, which dictates that safeguards must be built into applications themselves and within the SaaS environment.

Essentially, if a company has implemented the latest BYOD solution of their choosing, that has strong security and unique privacy capabilities – then there is no reason not to consider having the entire organisation working remotely when needed.

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