The digital transformation journey picked up pace during the pandemic with many organizations, not all by choice, accelerating their remote work adoption. Shifting from a reactive approach to a more tactical long-term strategy, businesses are now steadily moving towards a completely boundary-less digital workspace that is no longer restricted to tangible office premises but exists potentially everywhere. A digital workspace empowers users to work from anywhere, anytime, using any device and network of their choice while keeping governance with the organization.
The challenges faced by IT teams
IT teams must provide a scalable and flexible endpoint computing infrastructure to empower business users to work from anywhere, while balancing user experience and security needs. Though IT faces challenges galore, timely and well-informed decisions driven by a sound strategy can prevent malicious attacks and save the day. Given below are some of the challenges facing IT:
Shadow IT: Users often tend to violate corporate compliance policies and security guidelines by turning to online applications, cloud-based software or even pirated applications at times in their quest to find a quick fix for a problem.
Issues posed by BYOD: BYOD, although, offers better agility and flexibility and can be a critical part of the modern digital workspace, it poses significant IT challenges. Enforcing endpoint security and management of a complex heterogeneous set of endpoints without violating user privacy, is one of the major hurdles posed by BYOD.
Cloud sprawl: The past few years have seen a tremendous increase in the usage of SaaS applications. Within an organization, different business units subscribe to different SaaS applications as per their needs. Management and security concerns associated with the use of services built on multiple different cloud infra make the life of IT teams difficult.
Poorly implemented access controls: Using different products from different vendors, accessing each of them through separate gateways, implementing appropriate authentication and access policies for each of the access requests can be a tedious task for IT teams. This may not only lead to security vulnerabilities but also result in poor end-user experience.
An ideal Digital Workspace solution
The ideal digital workspace solution must do much more than overcoming the above challenges. It should ensure a great user experience without compromising security or compliance. It must help organizations consolidate their resources and become more agile than ever. Organizations must evaluate a digital workspace solution on the basis of the following .
Strong Authentication & Single Sign-On:
With a strong multi-factor authentication mechanism based on OTPs, push notifications or biometrics, organizations can gain strong control over user identities, prevent identity thefts. With a powerful MFA in place, organizations can define security policies in terms of who can access which resources and what all can be done with that access and thus implementing granular access control policies. MFA when backed by Single Sign-On can result in a significantly improved user experience, as users need not be authenticated time and again when they switch from one application to another.
In a full-fledged digital workspace, although provisioning on-demand access is a necessity, each access request has to be evaluated based on multiple factors, like the device used, security posture of the device, geolocation, data sensitivity levels, time, etc. Based on the evaluation, access shall be denied or granted with appropriate rights and privileges. Policy-based restrictions on users’ activities must be in place to allow them to do just exactly what is needed of them and nothing more or nothing less.
Organizations must get detailed insights into user activities with details on who accessed what, when, where and how. The logs must be tamper-proof records, and all records must be continuously trailed wherein any change to the records can be rooted back to the source of change. User activity logs play a significant role in enabling organizations to achieve regulatory compliance and help IT leaders make data-driven IT infrastructural and security decisions.
Data leakage prevention:
IT admins should be able to control user activities like copy-pasting, data downloading, taking screenshots or screen recording. There should not be any room for intentional or unintentional data leakage from any of the user endpoints. Organizations should also control users’ internet access and protect them from inadvertently clicking on malware links embedded in websites.
The ideal digital workspace should be able to enable people to seamlessly work with all kinds of business applications whether they are deployed in the data center, the cloud, or delivered as SaaS applications. It should ensure consistent, strong security and a seamless user experience for all applications. The users should be empowered to work from any device of their choice – laptops, desktops, thin clients, tablets or smartphones, and should be able to seamlessly switch from one application to another and work from wherever and whenever they need to.
On top of all these features, it will be of significant advantage for businesses if the digital workspace is an integrated end-to-end offering that takes care of all virtualization, remote access, identity and access management, and data protection needs. Such a single-stop solution will reduce the costs and complexities of a typical multi-point product infrastructure and further results in improved security and reduced end-user support issues.