Remaining secure in a flexible workplace

Posted on: November 29, 2017 by Michael Carter

Maintaining security protocols in the workplace — or failing to maintain them — is the stuff that news headlines are made of. Look no further than the last U.S. presidential election.

The biggest financial consequence of a data breach is lost business. And if you fail to keep your data secure, you are also damaging your reputation.

With so much at stake, it is tempting to strap your employees down into belt-and-suspenders style security, but this isn’t necessarily the right answer.

Employees have come to expect a seamless, flexible experience with unhindered choice of devices, work styles and locations. As they switch from device to device, your security needs to keep pace.

My previous blog, maintain control of the workplace by letting go, talked about the importance of providing a personal, people-focused approach to delivering technology. It is no different for the security protocols you put in place. Think people-first processes.

It’s possible to remain secure while also providing flexibility if you follow these guidelines:

  • Ensure that your security encompasses all devices used, follows their product lifecycles and automatically provides continuous security updates.
  • Tailor security to your users. Different employees require different access rights.
  • Secure information rather than individuals.
  • Use access conditions to limit access from specific locations and networks.
  • Provide multifactor authentication, which can now be done through smart phones, PKI cards or biometrics.
  • Clearly define any mandatory security and compliance requirements for users.
  • Make sure everybody has had the appropriate security training.

You might want to consider these topics when developing your future strategy for workplace security:

  • Technology changes quickly – ensure that your security can keep pace with digital leaps forward.
  • Consider the behavior patterns of your employees – where do they work, on what device, how do they access and share information, and what are their specific needs.
  • Bring your employees with you – when designing security protocols, ask your team what they expect and need. Get their buy-in from the start.
  • Keep an eye on the threat landscape – cloud, connectivity and smart devices have left business more open to cyberthreats. Be prepared.
  • Understand how regulation changes, such as GDPR, may impact on your business.

Workplace transformation is complex. Analysts recommend a phased approach that takes end-user behavior into consideration. For me, this is the key to success. If you understand your people, the business needs and the threat landscape you can design a flexible workplace that’s also secure.


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About Michael Carter
Vice President of Strategic Engagements, Atos North America
As vice president of strategic engagements at Atos North America, Michael Carter is passionate about partnering with organizations to solve and overcome their transformation challenges. He draws from 20 years of IT experience to lead business-first technology programs in Atos’ four core focus areas:
  • Combining innovative solutions with established ones to transform strategic approaches to Business & Platform Solutions.
  • Creating business benefits through intelligent Infrastructure & Data Management.
  • Providing cloud-focused business strategy for core processes in Cloud & Enterprise Software.
  • Enabling business differentiation by combining elements of Big Data & Security.
Over the years, he has seen the big conversations change from decreasing costs to increasing value. By bringing together the right people, business models and technology platforms, Carter enjoys helping businesses turn those conversations into action – giving them more business value from technology. Connect with him on His network is always open, and he enjoys making new acquaintances.

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