This is a guest blog post courtesy of Excelerate America sponsor, Dell.
Today, technology is all about enabling business. Organizations of many types and sizes are developing, upgrading or replacing mobile applications to reflect changes in the workplace. Across industries, employees are working more while mobile, using multiple devices. When they return to the office, they are capitalizing on more flexible work environments and approaches to work.
Many organizations are facilitating this anytime, anywhere work with mobility initiatives that provide mobile devices or allow employees to use their own. They are also modifying workspace designs, creating mobile workstations and mobile “hot spots” to enable workers to easily connect to enterprise systems when they return to the office.
Enabling employees to work better can help organizations boost productivity and improve customer service. The real challenge is to continue supporting new ways of working, now and in the future, without compromising security.
The need to secure employee systems is underlined by the growing number and severity of threats, including advanced 2 persistent threats (APTs), zero-day attacks, data breaches and sophisticated, constantly evolving malware. If a malicious attack succeeds, it can be extremely costly for an organization: The average cost of a data breach, for example, is $3.8 million.*
Facing activity-based security challenges
To both empower the workforce and protect the enterprise, organizations must choose the right technologies and match users to the right devices. The key is focusing on how people work. Employee roles and responsibilities should guide technology choices, and those choices should help each worker become more productive, efficient and satisfied while ensuring security.
From an activity-based standpoint, today’s employees can be divided into five worker types. Each of these categories comes with its own particular set of security challenges based on the associated worker activities. These challenges are compounded by the number of devices used per employee — workers want to use the right tool for each function whether it’s a laptop, tablet or smartphone, and all must be protected.
These are employees who work at their own desk in the office more than 50 percent of the time. Desk-centric workers range from accountants to customer support and inside sales representatives. They spend most of their time in their designated workspace, but to stay productive throughout the day, they use the internet, email, productivity applications and online meetings. Attackers might take advantage of these day-to-day activities to try and steal organizations’ most valuable data assets. Whenever employees use the internet or open an email attachment, they risk becoming the unwitting accomplices to a data breach. Desk-centric workers need a proactive approach to guarding against untrusted content and defeating malware and APTs in real time — 24x7, 365 days a year.
2. Corridor Warriors
Employees who work from meeting rooms and multiple locations within the company more than 50 percent of the time are Corridor Warriors. They're often executives such as marketing, program or warehouse managers who have to move from desk to meeting and beyond on a regular basis. These individuals stay up and running throughout the workday with laptops and other portable devices, often presenting or sharing in meetings and taking advantage of connectivity on the go. They frequently access corporate applications and data, including cloud resources, and organizations need to securely manage this access. Corridor Warriors also need the same anti-malware prevention as desk-centric workers.
3. On-the-go Professionals
On-the-go Pros work away from the office more than 50 percent of the time because they are traveling or at off-site meetings. On-the-go Professionals such as consultants, outside sales representatives and service professionals require access to people and data from anywhere, whether in the boardroom or an airport lounge. They rely on devices designed for highly mobile users to support fast sharing and collaboration and to consume and produce content. The need to use public WiFi increases the security threat for many on-the-go individuals. In addition to secure cloud access and malware prevention, these workers require data-centric encryption to protect devices and external media such as USB drives.
4. Remote Employees
Remote Employees work full time — at least 30 hours per week — outside the company buildings, from home or another location. They must turn home environments and even coffee shops into hubs of productivity. They communicate with the core office by phone, instant messaging and video conference. Many access information and corporate tools through the cloud and virtual private networks (VPNs). Remote workers need secure access to corporate resources and data-centric encryption to protect corporate data on their devices. They should also be equipped with security tools that integrate a password manager with hardware-based multi-factor authentication.
5. Specialized Users
This group can be broken down into two subgroups: those using mobile workstations for advanced graphics and business applications, and people using rugged laptops and notebooks in the field. Specialized Users of mobile workstations include professionals in computer-aided design (CAD), architecture, computer graphics, economics, healthcare and scientific research. Specialized Users of rugged laptops and notebooks include those in military and first responder roles, and also in manufacturing, warehousing, the oil and gas industry, and field services.
Addressing activity-based needs with Dell solutions
Dell Data Security Solutions offer comprehensive capabilities that cover the needs of the five future-ready worker categories. The solutions also cover the three essentials for safeguarding data while enabling productivity: authentication, encryption and threat protection. Authentication helps ensure only authorized users have access to data, encryption safeguards the data wherever it goes and threat protection defends users and data from untrusted content.
For example, Dell Data Protection | Endpoint Security Suite Enterprise edition integrates best- of-breed advanced threat prevention, encryption and authentication into an enterprise-class security suite for desk centric workers. Then there's Dell Data Protection | Protected Workspace that can help with remote workers; it provides malware prevention software that places many internet- connected applications such as Microsoft Office, Adobe, Java and web browsers in a secure container, or virtual bubble.
Adapting to a changing world
The business world is changing quickly due to the rapid pace of technology innovation, and expectations about how the workforce delivers products and services are changing with it. Dell readies the workforce for the future by supporting employees’ needs today and empowering them for tomorrow, while ensuring all the security requirements of the organization are met.
Whether in the office or on the road, Dell helps companies and workers confidently embrace advances — such as bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and the cloud — by ensuring the secure use of mobile technologies and providing the right access to the right resources regardless of the device.
This article is a special guest blog post contributed by Excelerate America sponsor partner, Dell. Excelerate America is a second-stage business accelerator that helps small businesses go next-level in the digital economy. For more information on Dell security as well as Excelerate America's partnership with Dell, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Ponemon Institute, “Cost of Data Breach Study: Global Analysis,” 2015.
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