Building trust in the digital workplace

To protect an organisation from the rapid acceleration of threats in this new working environment, identity tools need to be seamlessly integrated into the digital experience. Strategic investment in security will see greater trust built between employees and employers as they will feel protected whilst navigating the digital environment, writes Lindsay Brown, VP APAC and Japan, LogMeIn. 

2020 has been the year of rapid digital transformation initiatives with businesses taking large steps to achieve greater flexibility for employees and also more agile systems to respond to this change. Research from McKinsey found, 85 per cent of companies have accelerated the digitisation of their business since the beginning of the pandemic.

The idea of the ‘Future Enterprise’ is a key goal of organisations, meaning they need to prove their ability to thrive in their newly acquired digital native culture. One key factor in reaching this goal is developing a strong trust agenda with employees and other stakeholders – and this starts in the (virtual) boardroom.

Every organisation’s culture and workforce is unique, and building an effective security strategy is a personalised task. Many organisations are still building the foundation for economic recovery – and it starts with adopting seamless identity tools to empower the employee experience.

Boardroom discussions need to prioritise security, particularly identity and access management’s (IAM) role in supporting not only the organisation but employees in adjusting to the new digital landscape. With remote working arrangements now becoming the norm, reduced visibility of or accessibility to employees should not compromise trust and security. Building trust upon a strategic approach to IT security is an enabler for better business outcomes as both internal and external stakeholders are invested in its success.

The ripple effect of security
Arguably one of the most important aspects of a company is corporate identity; however, to properly safeguard this, companies must protect the identity of every employee first. The value of security, particularly IAM is often underestimated and under-resourced in organisations – 80 per cent of passwords are caused by old, reused passwords – leading to a crisis of digital trust.

The lack of resources often means the issue of security is left to the already burdened head of IT, which is the case for 80 per cent of organisations according to a report from LastPass. Furthermore, employees are consistently failing to recognise malicious activity – phishing remained the most common method of credential theft in the latest OAIC Notifiable Data Breaches report. In order to properly emphasise the importance of security, dedicated leaders need to have board level conversations about moving the security strategy from being system or device-focused, to new control points of data, application and identity for a more comprehensive approach.

To protect an organisation from the rapid acceleration of threats in this new working environment, identity tools need to be seamlessly integrated into the digital experience. Strategic investment in security will see greater trust built between employees and employers as they will feel protected whilst navigating the digital environment.

Adapting to the digital world
At the height of the pandemic in Australia, working from home quickly became the new normal meaning employees needed easy access to company systems remotely. This placed immense pressure on IT teams to adequately manage levels of access and security at scale, and cyber criminals know this.

The increase of remote working forced lines between personal lives and work to become blurred. By introducing new devices to a company network, constantly switching between personal and work apps or accessing accounts via insecure means, hackers can easily obtain personal passwords that are used to access to an organisation’s systems and proprietary assets.

Strategic investment in security will see greater trust built between employees and employers as they will feel protected whilst navigating the digital environment.

To build digital trust, it is essential that companies invest in proper IT infrastructure to enable seamless remote working and maintain productivity levels. The same research from LastPass found that the banking and financial services industry (BFSI) employees were affected the most, where 72 per cent demanded remote access but only 32 per cent deployed it. Yet there is value in delivering on secure remote connectivity, with 44 per cent of BFSI respondents cited productivity gains (from working remotely) and more than half for the telecommunications / transportation and public sectors.

To uplift an organisation’s IAM posture, IT teams and security leaders need to provide frictionless solutions that help employees access the right information across multiple apps and devices wherever they are. It is far more effective to build a security-first culture than to purchase as many identity management applications as possible. In this case, more is not better. By eliminating any friction that may discourage employees from doing the right thing, employees will experience fewer disruptions switching between applications and become more inspired at work.

Boardroom discussions need to prioritise security, particularly identity and access management’s (IAM) role in supporting not only the organisation but employees in adjusting to the new digital landscape.

Cementing the trust relationship
Stakeholders need to see organisations taking real action to respond to current issues and preparing for potential threats. Developing a strong security strategy which utilises key identity and access management tools is essential to a strong business resiliency plan.

Every organisation’s culture and workforce is unique, and building an effective security strategy is a personalised task. Many organisations are still building the foundation for economic recovery – and it starts with adopting seamless identity tools to empower the employee experience. Organisations who succeed in engendering trust with their employees, internal and external stakeholders will reap benefits of a more favourable perception and more rewarding business engagements.

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