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Balance between productivity and security

The role of the IT leader has been evolving for years, to meet the needs of a modern enterprise where employees collaborate, share and show initiative. Sometimes, an unintended consequence of this can be that security gets overlooked as businesses work to be as productive as possible. But it isn’t impossible to maximise productivity while keeping data safe. Both issues need to be treated as key priorities in ongoing investment in IT, writes Nick Offin, pictured, Head of Sales, Marketing and Operations, Toshiba Northern Europe.

The primary purpose of IT is to make enterprise employees as productive, efficient and effective at doing their jobs as possible, and new security solutions have great potential to improve overall organisational efficiency. Recent Toshiba research on Maximising mobility: Navigating the future IT landscape found that 62 per cent and 54 per cent of businesses cite productivity and security as two main issues to focus on as a business over the next year. However, as security can require precautionary measures or regulations, it can often hinder productivity. This is demonstrated in a survey from Bromium, a research company that found that enterprises prohibit users from using websites and applications due to certain security concerns, with 94 per cent restricting what users can access. Because of this, 74 per cent of CISOs say employees have expressed frustration that security policies are hampering productivity and 81 per cent of these believe that security can often be a barrier to innovation, rather than a good thing. For companies to avoid the trap of being secure but not productive, or very productive but unsecure, below are some tips to help to find the balance between productivity and security in an evolving business.

Identifying priorities:

When implementing security solutions, executives can be more likely to rank ease of deployment as their top priority, but front-line workers may be more concerned with efficiency first. In these cases, focusing on trusting frontline workers and ensuring security measures are easy to use, implement, and maintain is the best course of action. With simplicity and trust, the burden of security will lighten, freeing staff to be more productive.

Collaborate with other teams:

Our research found 47 per cent of executives stated that improved employee training would be key to improving productivity in the next 12 months. Part of that training should include better insight into the company security setup and why it’s so important. Hardware and software security solutions need to be deployed by teams that understand how and where they are needed, and be fully understood by staff to enable them to use it fully.

Going on the edge:

Windows 10 also brings greater potential for organisations to integrate mobile edge computing into their IT infrastructure, with such strategies becoming more popular as a method of gathering and analysing data in a secure, efficient and mobile manner. An edge-focused approach reduces operational strain and latency by processing the most critical data close to its originating source, which as a result reduces ‘data garbage’ by identifying only the most relevant information to be sent to the cloud. Edge devices also offer enhanced security by ensuring data is locally encrypted before being sent to the network core.

Mobile working:
Mobility management is the frontline of IT security– so cover every mobile base. This includes mobile device management, mobile content management, mobile identity and mobile application management. According to our research, 61 per cent of workers use a business laptop and 55 per cent use a business smartphone. The need for robust mobile management solutions in house has never been higher, particularly for boosting productivity levels and catering to employees that work out of the office. The relationship between IT and security has always been interesting and important. Whereas IT itself can primarily be used to make employees more productive, companies are increasingly vulnerable to cyber-attacks and data breaches as a result, amplifying the need for enterprise-wide security. The risk of cyber-attacks versus improved productivity due to the advent of technology describes a security paradox.

However, it doesn’t always need to be. While security measures can sometimes put strain on company output, solutions such as Toshiba Mobile Zero Client can provide possible strategies for bridging that gap, allowing enterprises to maximise efficiency while protected by a secure IT infrastructure. But before modern technology is deployed, the correct training, collaboration and focus on mobile can go a long way in helping enterprises to tackle both issues together.


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