A quick look at risky workplace trends and what IT can do to close security gaps using digital experience management
Cyberattacks top the list of challenges that keep business and IT leaders up at night. Managing concerns about cybersecurity and data privacy is also a major obstacle in ensuring a superior digital employee experience (DEX), according to 44% of C-level executives and 50% of the IT staff surveyed by Lakeside Software.
So in order to better prepare future help desk operations, organizations have to revamp their security efforts, too.
Why Security is Top of Mind for IT
With hybrid and remote work, bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies, and the rise of ransomware as an organized crime, IT and business leaders have more to worry about. Findings from IDC’s 2021 Ransomware Study indicate that 37% of global organizations have experienced a ransomware attack or breach that blocked access to data or systems within the past year.
Increased risks and high-profile breaches, such as the Colonial Pipeline hack, have led the White House to take unprecedented steps in 2021 to help the private and public sectors prevent and respond to security threats. For example, the United States government has launched an official website — StopRansomware.gov — to provide ransomware alerts and guidance from the FBI, CISA, and other organizations.
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Changes in Cybersecurity Governance and Oversight
Cybersecurity challenges are also stirring organizational changes.
“By 2025, 40% of boards of directors will have a dedicated cybersecurity committee overseen by a qualified board member,” according to a Gartner press release.
These new developments also impact the role of chief information officer (CIO), as many organizations now have a chief information security officer (CISO). In revamping their cybersecurity efforts, companies have an opportunity to build more proactive support desk operations.
Workplace and Digital Experience Trends to Watch
Investing in endpoint security is critical to building the future of help desk support. Without proper digital employee experience management, the following workplace trends can make organizations more vulnerable to attacks:
Consolidating new workplace trends, such as the rise of hybrid and remote working models, has become a bigger focus these days. After all, working from home exposes employees to a series of challenges, including cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Data privacy and network security issues also rank among the top three challenges when working remotely, according to Lakeside survey results.
Securely managing a dispersed workforce requires expanded visibility into the IT environment. Endpoint monitoring, combined with support desk responsiveness, can minimize cyber risks, helping IT security teams detect and respond to incidents as they arise.
Many companies already have BYOD policies that allow employees to work on their personal computers and mobile devices, but this trend has accelerated with the pandemic. The 2021 BYOD Security Report points out that 47% of organizations significantly increased the adoption of BYOD with the shift to remote work — and now 82% of companies enable BYOD to some extent.
According to the study, these are the top cybersecurity concerns with BYOD:
- Data leakage or loss
- Employees downloading unsafe applications or content
- Stolen or lost devices
- Unauthorized access to corporate systems and data
By giving employees the flexibility of BYOD, organizations reduce their ability to control access to their network through trusted devices. For example, employees could be using applications with known vulnerabilities or storing sensitive information on devices that are not locked. Endpoint monitoring is critical to ensure that systems are updated and patched, among other measures.
Shadow IT occurs when employees use technology, services, or systems without the IT department’s knowledge or approval. In many cases, users are unaware of the security risks of unauthorized downloads, despite their good intentions. According to an IBM report on cyber resilience, 21% of companies had cyber breaches caused by the use of non-sanctioned IT resources.
Shadow IT can become a significant concern if left unchecked. However, digital experience management (DEM) can help organizations keep those practices under control. DEM solutions enable IT to track what’s being used throughout the digital environment and optimize software and hardware assets to improve end-user experience while also improving security.
Risk Visualization with SysTrack
Digital Experience Management Can Help to Close IT Security Gaps
These future help desk trends of hybrid work, BYOD, and shadow IT expand the attack surface and reinforce the need for digital experience management. Platforms such as Lakeside’s Digital Experience Cloud, powered by SysTrack, give IT the visibility necessary to manage users, devices, and systems.
Here are a few ways DEM solutions can help organizations stay on top of security concerns:
DEM tools help IT teams monitor user activity and administrative privileges. One Lakeside client — a financial services company — deployed the Digital Experience Cloud to meet auditing and security requirements. End-user monitoring also helps strengthen security through:
- Asset management (software and hardware inventory and compliance)
- Web access restrictions and prevention of unauthorized application execution
- Accountability compliance (for example, auditable records for application usage and other user activities)
- Event alerting, such as failed logins and password changes
Complete asset inventory and system updates
One of the first cybersecurity actions to take is to create a complete asset inventory (software, hardware, and users). Digital experience management solutions can do that by gathering data on software versions and updates; connected devices; and even personas or user groups with similar work patterns. By collecting a rich amount of data directly through endpoints, IT can detect vulnerable files, unpatched systems, and policy violations.
By collecting and intelligently analyzing critical data, DEM solutions enable greater cyber threat detection and remediation. The use of artificial intelligence and automation also empowers IT to predict and prevent issues by auto- or mass-healing systems with a few clicks, freeing up support desk time.
In the case of Log4j vulnerabilities, for example, endpoint data can be leveraged to identify both active and inactive instances that IT teams can proactively address.
Digital experience management can also help organizations enforce basic cyber hygiene measures, such as deactivating old accounts.
According to the Committee on Oversight and Reform’s Investigation into Ransomware, the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack started with a stolen password linked to an old user account. In the attack against meat-packing company JBS, an old network administrator account protected by a weak password led to the breach. These high-profile incidents confirm that basic cybersecurity measures can go a long way.
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