Building frictionless workspaces for the 'now' generation

The best place to start is understanding not only the demands of security and compliance, but also the mind-set that drives this new type of workforce.

Rahul Kumar Jul 25th 2017

We live in an intricately inter-connected era, joined in all sorts of exciting new ways. Your refrigerator can talk to your favourite store and re-order when you’re running low on supplies. Your next new car will leave the production line connected to the network in real-time, able to deliver real-time maintenance and driving information. It’s an amazing marriage of great hardware and smart software, with the software almost becoming more critical and important that the devices and products they are designed to serve.

Out of this environment comes today’s new workforce. A generation that expects to be connected and empowered, anywhere and everywhere. A new breed of worker that wants to collaborate their way, on their terms, sharing information with ease and moving projects forward at their pace, in their space.

This is the now generation — and they’re superb for business productivity. So how do you keep these workers protected and secure in world where human error accounts for so many data breach events and malicious cybersecurity threats morph daily?

“The now generation is happiest when applications let them do what they want and intuitively take charge.”

There is an answer and it lies in a technology that’s as current as it is proven: encryption. Let’s see what the best businesses are doing to deliver ‘now’ workspaces, as connected as their best people need them to be.

Zooming in on what they need

Let’s consider a typical now generation individual. They are social by nature, collaborative and always connected, used to consuming information in their palm and controlling it using their voice. In other words, the now generation is happiest when applications let them do what they want and intuitively take charge.

A recent PwC report Millennials at work: Reshaping the workplace, shows that 41 percent of this segment prefers to communicate electronically at work, rather than in person or over phone. They respond to emails and messages in near real-time, and like to work on the go. In fact, a further research study from Intuit shows that these workers are more engaged than on-site workers. They are at home with the latest tech and in control, having no qualms about using their personal devices at work and downloading applications for use in the workplace. They know that with the right technology at hand they can be tremendously productive and responsive.

The challenge now is to create workspaces that enable, empower and inspire this generation while removing security uncertainty and mitigating data protection risk.

A growing attack surface

As more devices connect to a company’s network and more files are shared, the value, and therefore vulnerability, of that data grows. According to Gartner, the number of people working from multiple or remote locations is set to grow 6 percent in the next two years. The study also shows that a majority of organisations in UK, Canada, and the USA support some form of BYOD. In other words, the portable, distributed and connected nature of data has brought a real shift in work patterns.

Often security has grown up organically within an organization, so fragmented native and add-on encryption approaches are common. These are fiscally inefficient as well as a nightmare to manage, with complex encryption key processes, serious upgrade headaches and zero chance of total visibility or control. This leads to poor CIO-level visibility and security concerns.

Another serious challenge is corporate governance and compliance. There is a raft of regional and industry-specific data protection legislation with which organizations now need to comply from EU GDPR to HIPAA (for healthcare industry), PCI DSS (for BFSI industry) and other standards. Failure to fulfil data protection requirements can not only lead to a damaging loss of customer confidence and hamper business continuity but also end in very serious financial penalties. Fines for EU GDPR non-compliance alone are set at the greater of 20 million EUROs or 4 per cent of annual turnover. That’s something your CEO won’t want to risk.

Securing the advantage of a connected workforce

“Creating flexible, now generation workplaces bolstered by smart new approaches to data security and encryption is the way forward.”

Creating flexible, now generation workplaces bolstered by smart new approaches to data security and encryption is the way forward. These new workspaces need to be highly productive environments that securely deliver data across platforms, regardless of location or device ownership; exactly the kind of environment that will help you attract and keep the best next-generation workers.

The smartest organizations always have a sharp eye on productivity. They know that in today’s interconnected era, that means actively planning for uncertainty and risk and moving away from organic, patched together data protection approaches. Instead they are implementing holistic digital workplace initiatives that embrace a connected, always-on working culture and have joined up encryption at their heart, from the end-point to the cloud.

The frictionless way forward                                                                                    

Aligning security strategies to make the most of empowering new devices and applications can transform business outcomes. It can inspire now Generation workforces and free workers to log on and power up how, when and where they want — sharing data in apps like Box and Drop Box without worries ¬– across one multi-OS and device landscape.

The best place to start is understanding not only the demands of security and compliance, but also the mind-set that drives this new type of workforce: unravelling how the now generation really works and thinks, assessing their needs, and understanding the security frameworks needed to empower and support them.

It’s about fostering a more approachable and friendly way of talking about security, helping people understand and adhere to its policies and favouring the creation of ‘frictionless’ any device, anywhere, anytime digital workplace practices.

The author is Country Manager at WinMagic.

Disclaimer: This article is published as part of the IDG Contributor Network. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the contributing authors and not of IDG Media and its editor(s).