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Creating value in the modern workplace: balancing security and user experience

Modern workplace solutions are designed to unleash efficiency, collaboration and engagement. Choosing the right tools is essential for productivity gains. But companies also need to take security into account. So, how do you pick the right workplace tools to maximise user experience, while keeping a firm grip on security?

Digitalisation has fundamentally impacted the way we live, work and communicate. In the digital workplace, innovations like mobile and cloud have enabled us to process and share information at an unknown speed. Implementing digital workplace technologies increases efficiency and promotes collaboration. These tools have a measurable ROI and business impact.

But as people, data and devices are increasingly connected, cyber security risks become more tangible. As a practice manager with a strong background in modern workplace and security, I like to take a holistic approach to workplace tools and security. With a global architecture that builds bridges between the business, end-users and security, you can create a governance model that generates real value. 

Take a helicopter view of your workplace

Workplace modernisation requires a well-thought-out strategy. Essentially, it’s all about finding the right balance between user experience, business outcomes and security. Choosing the right tools is crucial for everyone involved. When clients come to Devoteam and ask us to implement a list of tools within the Microsoft suite, we like to come up with a global plan first.

A lot of companies just dive into building a modern workplace architecture without considering the impact on a global scale. But implementing security measures like multi-factor authentication (MFA) and mobile device management without thinking about the impact on users and business just isn’t productive. And deploying different workplace tools like OneDrive, Teams and Yammer without considering the security effects is equally inefficient. At Devoteam, we work hard to synchronise business goals with CIO and CISO concerns.

When we start up a workplace modernisation project, we think about the optimal use of workplace tools and map them on a secure architecture at the same time. With this unique approach, we provide value to the business while keeping a firm grasp on security.

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Choose the right tool in the right context

So, how do we put our comprehensive approach into practice? When it comes to picking the right tools for the modern workplace, we stick to the KIS principle: keep it simple. Because workplace modernisation is essentially about creating the most efficient and secure data flows within an organisation, we start by analysing the kind of information the company possesses. If you don’t know what type of data you’re working with, you can’t pair it to the right tools.

In a governance pyramid, our business and functional analysts map the different types of data and link them to a specific security level. Whereas personal productivity data are usually low risk, most organisations also dispose of confidential data or management records that need to be tightly governed. After we’ve established a clear grasp of the company’s information assets, we start thinking about the workplace tools that match the different data requirements – from end-user needs to security.

Choosing the right tools in the right context is key for a user-centric workplace architecture. Furthermore, it lies at the basis of a future-proof, manageable security strategy. Only after we’ve designed a safe architecture that globally fulfils business and user needs, we start thinking about additional security tools like MFA or information policies.

Get crystal clear about the outcomes

Providing value to the business department is one thing. But you also need to be able to back it up with results and numbers. That’s why clear communication about goals and expectations is also a necessary part of any IT project. Starting with a detailed picture of the before-situation and pinpointing security risks and user needs is crucial. With a risk matrix, you can clearly illustrate where a company is at and where they want to go. After the project is over, a matrix featuring the after-situation shows the steps that have been taken to reach certain goals. Implementing KPIs that both business and IT-management can relate to, is another step we take to get crystal clear about the outcomes.

As a practice manager, I’m proud of Devoteam’s unique approach. With in-depth expertise of workplace tools and technologies and a customer-first mindset, we succeed in building IT architectures that truly generate value for organisations. With the right tools in the right place, we lay the foundations of a workplace model that works both for users and security management. And that pays off.