Over the past 24 months, IT teams have been burdened with many unprecedented challenges. Most notably, a rising number of security concerns. But enhancing security shouldn’t come at the expense of efficiency or employee experience.
Our Guest: Denis O’Shea
When we hear the word “security,” we think of things like passwords and data encryption. But there is more to it. It’s also about creating a work culture where employees feel safe and protected in addition to ensuring that systems and data are secure. Technical security is critical, but so is work culture and morale.
How do we balance the need for security with the need for employee welfare, productivity, and satisfaction? We invited Denis to help us think through this question. Denis explains:
“It is something we can aspire to. It has not been easy in the past because employers often had to make compromises and either put security first or put the employee experience first. But now the technology is mature enough that we can actually be secure and still have a great experience without compromising one or the other.”
Where Security and Experience Collide
People are used to being able to communicate in real-time on any device. This means being able to respond to company emails from a mobile device from any location, at any time of the day or night. As a result, companies sometimes compromise security in order to improve the employee experience and aid in communication. Denis further explains:
“The one that is probably most common is the use of personally owned devices. So we see this very common in healthcare, education, even in government nowadays, where employees are using personal laptops, personal iPads, certainly personal smartphones. Initially, that presented a huge security challenge to the organization. How can data possibly be secure on the device owned by an employee?”
However, with advances in technology and security, it’s less of a risk to allow employees to work on a personal device. Denis:
“Nowadays companies can actually secure the data and still allow the employee to use their personal phone or tablet or laptop. So we’ve come a long way, and of course what that enables people to do is to work from home, use personal devices, access their company’s resources, be productive, and have a great experience using the technology they choose to use rather than technology that’s kind of forced upon them by their IT department.”
BYOD – Bring Your Own Disaster?
The term BYOD should mean “Bring Your Own Device”. There are circumstances where companies have to allow employees to use their personal devices – smartphones, laptops, tablets. For example, the recent global chip shortage made it difficult for companies to procure phones and laptops. But what happens when those devices aren’t set up properly? Denis:
“Then you can have a disaster. Instead of BYOD, bring your own device, we call it bring your own disaster. And they end up in a situation where company information, such as healthcare records, student records, and financial information is on an unmanaged laptop or an unmanaged tablet.”
Add personal downloads of unapproved apps to the mix. Denis further explains:
“And now they’re using an unmanaged app on an unmanaged device to do their work. And so their data is effectively out in the wild, the company data is out in the wild.”
The Balancing Act
There is a balance between security and experience. Companies need security, but they also need to provide the best employee experience possible. Denis:
“Companies should listen to their remote employees and involve them in the decision-making process around technology and process. If they [companies] get it wrong, remote workers are the first to break the rules and find workarounds. If you ask those remote workers for feedback on the next generation of tools, technology, or processes that will empower them, they will give that feedback.”
There is also a balance between security, employee privacy, and how it’s communicated. If employees feel as if their personal privacy will be compromised by added device security measures, this will have a negative impact on the employee experience. And let’s face it, the younger generation of workers brings an uncompromising set of priorities to the table making it even more challenging to find the sweet spot for employee experience.