Digital Workspace Ensures Security Isn’t a Barrier to Great Work

The digital workspace champions flexible, employee-centric technology systems to aid productivity and unlock the potential of individual employees, teams, and organizations. It enables enterprises to deliver easy-to-use, streamlined, and empowering experiences to their most valuable resource: their people.

According to Sumit Dhawan, VMware’s senior vice president and general manager, End-User Computing, enterprises have two major objectives when they look to deliver digital workspace capabilities to their employees.

“The first objective,” Dhawan says, is to ensure enterprises can implement and “maintain compliance and security over a wide range of endpoints, especially those they don’t own and operate.” These endpoints range from desktop computers to smartphones to tablets and other devices, both personal and professional.

The second objective, Dhawan says, is to “enable the workforce to successfully adopt and leverage new technologies as key participants in the digital transformation journey.” The goal, he emphasizes, is to create a digital workspace that mirrors the experience the workforce already enjoys in their personal lives.

Challenges With Security Silos

For the enterprise, Dhawan says, “the range of new technologies IT needs to keep up with and embrace” is the dominant issue. “The challenge is how to do that cost-effectively, as quickly as possible, and still remain compliant with corporate security governance.”

The traditional path is for IT to onboard these technologies, both new devices and new applications, one at a time. This approach is too slow, complex, and inefficient for the needs of the business. As a consequence, lines of business (LOBs) are bypassing IT and procuring the applications they feel are needed to empower their workers.

“The central problem,” Dhawan says, is that “as workforces have become more flexible and diverse, with a growing choice of apps and devices, enterprise security policies and resulting tools and processes have not kept pace.”

This issue goes straight to the heart of how enterprises are traditionally structured. Security policies and protocols tend to follow and replicate the business structures of the organization. This has led to “three challenges that are impeding enterprise adoption of the digital workspace,” says Dhawan.

  1. Existing legacy applications typically require their own proprietary services to maintain, monitor, and secure and are hard to access from modern platforms.
  2. The increasing number and breadth of apps, from web to mobile to SaaS, each with a different authentication framework and a different user interface, makes it hard to locate and launch these apps.
  3. The complexity of the security experience results in employees either bypassing corporate provided tools and using their own, or not using the tool at all, thereby missing out on the potential productivity benefits.

The third challenge is directly related to the first two. The typical structure of most enterprise IT organizations aligns with the teams that work on the specific application or technology for which they are responsible. These teams tend to create security policies that they can either directly enforce within their silo, or simply place access behind the firewall hoping that network security can govern access. Both of these approaches only complicate the user experience and often leaves gaps.

“Without eliminating these siloes,” says Dhawan, “it is difficult to deliver an engaging employee experience to drive adoption.”

Enabling a Consumer-Simple Security Experience

The digital workspace provides the key to breaking down these silos. It starts with an emphasis on employee-first security policies rather than focusing on securing individual applications, services, or technologies. A set of workplace services essentially travels with the individual employee, wherever that individual goes, to simplify security.

Simplifying the security structure not only results in easier management, but also streamlines employees’ day-to-day experiences by eliminating additional passwords, failed login attempts, and generally making it simple to access the files and applications needed.

The single platform of the digital workspace provides the solution. “The single platform is easier to defend,” says Dhawan. “Enterprises see that a single platform becomes a single door with a single, but very intelligent, lock,” as opposed to “multiple doors with multiple keys.”

This concept underlies VMware’s integrated approach to security, and identity and access management. With VMware Workspace ONE™, VMware’s digital workspace platform, employees have a seamless single sign-on (SSO) experience for access to web, mobile, SaaS, and legacy applications. IT has a single place to set security policies. The result is security that is more effective, adaptive, and context-aware. “Within the environment we create,” Dhawan says, “it doesn’t matter if it’s a corporate device or an outside, unsecured personal device. They are all treated alike, and because security is centralized, all devices are suspect and everyone is more secure.”

We believe that taking the frustration out of using advanced technology not only empowers employees to reach their professional ambitions, but also leads to happier people, better functioning teams, and a more productive work environment.

Sumit Dhawan

Enabling Employee Engagement

By simplifying and streamlining security, the digital workspace re-balances the organizational needs of management control and employee empowerment. The digital workspace also ensures that new employee-centric workspace technologies can be added quicker and more efficiently onto a single platform for rapid and easy distribution.

The result is a happier, more productive workforce: employees who are empowered with the right tools in the right moments can work to their full potential.