Why Organizations Need to Review End User Device Policies

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Let’s be honest, the early 2020 work-from-home policies were crafted virtually overnight, with little thought. Given the limited time due to the rapidly growing COVID-19 pandemic, organizations have taken shortcuts to allow employees to be operational remotely without affecting business operations.

The unfortunate rush has created a situation where users have taken more liberties by integrating their own consumer-grade collaboration devices and accessories into business processes. This has created many headaches from an IT security and administrative perspective. Let’s explore options for how IT can rewrite the rules on end-user home collaboration devices by creating an updated end-user device policy to ensure a business can better control the user experience. and cybersecurity with relative ease.

Option 1. Eliminate BYOD

Over the past few years, working-from-home (WFH) employees have gotten creative when it comes to using consumer-grade collaboration technologies and add-ons to their advantage. Examples of BYOD include the use of personal laptops or desktops, additional webcams, consumer wireless headphones or earphones, and even integration with home automation devices, like Google Nest or Amazon Alexa.

However, when it comes to the quality, reliability, and manageability of collaboration from a business perspective, these unique uses of BYOD technologies tend to be more detrimental than helpful. One of the reasons is that the quality of these components varies greatly, creating a situation where the UX fluctuates depending on the devices used. Second, IT support teams are often forced to troubleshoot an unlimited range of collaboration devices, creating a huge waste of time.

The simplest, yet most drastic solution to the overuse of unlimited use of BYOD collaboration devices is to simply eliminate it. Of course, this change will likely produce the greatest end user backlash. The company would also need to offer WFH employees enterprise-grade collaboration devices and accessories to fill the void of BYOD tools that would no longer be allowed. A budget would also be needed to accommodate this new policy. That said, the overall collaborative experience will regain its balance and the burden placed on help desks when troubleshooting consumer devices would be largely eliminated.

Option 2. Limited BYOD

A trade-off that might be more appealing from a WFH and Capex end-user perspective might be to limit the type, brands, and models of devices and accessories that can be used and supported within the an organization’s collaboration platform. This greatly reduces the number of components that IT support needs to be aware of from a troubleshooting perspective. At the same time, it makes it easier to create a baseline for acceptable UX quality levels that can be monitored and tracked over time. Although this model will undoubtedly not receive the full support of all users, it is a compromise that most will understand and accept over time.

Add extra cybersecurity protection

In addition to BYOD decisions, each reworked policy for end-user home collaboration should address and strengthen cybersecurity requirements. In many situations, cybersecurity policy requirements were haphazardly written or completely ignored because the underlying remote access infrastructure was not comprehensive or scalable enough to support the additional load. In many cases, companies have taken shortcuts that created security holes when remote users connect to collaboration services in data centers or clouds. In some cases, vulnerabilities in consumer-grade collaboration BYOD components have created the entry point, providing a pathway to the larger corporate network.

Now that the remote workforce in many organizations is here to stay, a long-term cybersecurity strategy must be introduced to address these telecommuting remote access security gaps. In many situations, a complete overhaul of WFH remote access is required. Popular options for addressing cybersecurity gaps include the following:

Depending on the needs of the organization, these workforce remote access options provide comprehensive cybersecurity protection for sensitive business communications.

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