The workplace is undergoing a major transformation in India, because of so many different types of mobile devices, IoT, emerging security threats and the changing nature of people who use them. Employees have become more tech savvy and therefore expect their companies to allow them to work anytime and from anywhere. Moreover, they also expect the latest devices to work on.
All this raises many concerns with respect to efficient management of the workplace. How are enterprises dealing with it and what are their concerns? We spoke to Rajesh Uppal, CIO, Maruti Suzuki, to find out how his company is dealing with this workplace transformation.
1) Centralize Device Management
“My personal concern in this whole journey and the way we want to look at the workplace is that everything has to be central. Anything you do in the workplace, you’re working on company information assets. These have to be very secure with respect to your business”, said Uppal. “Irrespective of the devices being deployed, the strategy should be to centrally manage them with all securities and policies put onto that”, he added.
Rajesh felt that this is a critical area for enterprises and all device strategies have to revolve around these policies. He felt that though user convenience, anytime, anywhere working are important, you can’t compromise basic information assets of the company. That’s what his whole workplace strategy is dependent on. He feels that whether you’re using a social platform, chat, or anything else, you must standardize all of them, and have the policies to manage them.
2) Prioritize Security over End-User Convenience
Interestingly, Uppal feels that it’s not a question of balancing security and end-user convenience, because security simply can’t be compromised. “If for instance, USB is not allowed, it’s not allowed. Security is paramount. End user experience is important, but not at the cost of security”, he added.
3) Have Different Policies for Different Workloads
In any organization, there will be always be certain types of workloads that can’t be taken out of the office. In case of Maruti for instance, Uppal explained that there’s a need for high compute power with big design screens, design studios, etc. that are used to work on engineering drawings. “These can’t be taken mobile because there are multiple people working concurrently on the same design, same vehicle and all. It’s very compute intensive, because people have to work on and share digital engineering, mock-ups, etc.” he added.
The sales team on the other hand, needs computing on the move and the case is no different at Maruti. The company has given apps that the sales team can access from their mobile devices. In fact, Uppal further added that they don’t necessarily need laptops to work, as everything they require for the business can be done from a smartphone. “We make sure they have the required processes available from the back-end”, added Uppal.
4) Ensure 24x7 Monitoring of Workplace for New Age Security Threats
Given the increasing number of security threats, such as the recent spate of malware attacks, every organization requires a better plan to secure all their devices.
Rajesh strongly feels that security is one area that always keeps you on your toes. “One thing is very clear that security is no longer about hardware or software. It’s something that’s 24x7, including monitoring and management”, he added.
He feels that security is very different from how it used to be in the past, because even the smallest level of unpreparedness can lead to major challenges. He added that ”security is not just technology, but your whole ability to monitor what’s happening around, and then continuously take actions on that. More than that, agility of your monitoring is very important”. For this, the company has made significant investments in securing the workplace, including things like sandboxing, APTs, etc.
Lastly, he stressed on the need to ensure that you have the right security skillsets in the team. It’s very different from monitoring a NOC. “In security, you need people who understand security and can correlate between various things going around and then come out with their diagnosis”, he added.
5) Gear up for IoT
IoT is a huge area, and Maruti has been a pioneer in using the technology in their manufacturing by connecting all their shop-floor devices with it. Currently, it’s all within their internal network, and is therefore much more manageable and controllable.
However, as new applications like connected cars emerge, then IoT would require a lot more attention.
All said and done, workplaces are becoming far more dynamic with all sorts of devices coming in, including IoT. It would require careful re-assessment of the workplace to ensure high productivity in a secure environment.