We seem to have entered a new phase, trying to ‘live with the virus’. With the prolonged lockdown, which have had several undesirable impacts on the economy and the livelihood of millions of people, being relaxed slowly, many manufacturing and production facilities are beginning to operate with a limited capacity. The governments have laid down clear rules and precautionary measures for organizations to follow, to ensure the safety of the workforce. The enterprises must still explore every possibility that would let them minimize the number of people within their facilities at any given time, while keeping their critical functions running.
Way ahead for manufacturing companies
Although an organization-wide implementation of remote work is out of the question for manufacturing companies, a partial remote work policy can set the stage for post-crisis recovery. Barring those who are directly involved in the shop floor activities, a considerable number of employees can still contribute from home. Departments, like design, planning, supply chain management, finance, accounts, legal, purchase, parts of human resource management, marketing, and sales, etc., can very well function from anywhere. By judiciously enabling work from home for select departments, companies can start taking smaller steps towards a complete normalcy, before rolling out a full-fledged recovery drive.
Challenges facing manufacturing units
Unlike IT enterprises, which, under even normal circumstances, would have at least a certain percentage of employees working from home, most of the manufacturing companies never tried remote work even for select employees or departments.
With no experience or exposure to the issues that may arise due to remote working, many manufacturing companies are now standing in a totally unfamiliar territory. An enterprise cannot simply let its employees work from home overnight, using their own devices. Exposing confidential data to public networks and employees’ personal devices will open the door for several cyber security issues and may result in some irreversible damage in the form of monetary losses, loss of reputation among clients, legal issues, etc. Many cyber-attacks on business networks happen after an entry through an employee’s end-device.
How to tackle remote productivity challenges
Work from home is the new normal emerging out of the current global crisis that has severely impacted the entire value chain. Organizations need a long-term strategic outlook and a robust remote productivity infrastructure to sail through the prevailing downturn as well as tackle similar eventualities in future. The following are the features that are needed by manufacturing companies to enable a secure enterprise mobility:
- The solution must satisfy the manufacturing companies’ demand for stringent security measures and robust governance protocols. It must be based on zero-trust security framework which inherently does not trust any device within or outside the network.
- It must provide enterprises with complete end-device control with the provision of role-based or device-based access.
- Detailed audit logs providing information on who accessed what, when and from where should be obtained. As the end-users use their own devices, the solution must also ensure that the enterprise data never enters the end-device, even when the user is accessing the virtualized enterprise network.
- The solution must be an easy roll out solution which does not pressurize the IT teams of the companies and should be supported from a centralized location.
- The user-experience must not be affected although continuous scanning of end-device is done. The legacy applications that were in use should still be supported.
All these features put together ensures complete security of the intellectual property, financial records, client details and other such confidential data, keeping all hackers at bay while providing enterprise mobility.
An end-to-end solution to mitigate all concerns
The need of the hour is one simple and complete solution that has -An application tunnel VPN, – A Zero-Trust based gateway, Identity and Access Management, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, Multi-factor authentication, Data Leakage Protection integrated into it.
Such a remote access solution which provides instant access to business applications to authenticated users working from anywhere using any device may not only be beneficial in these trying times, but also in the long run, through a significant reduction of op-ex.