World Productivity Day: Security Perspective

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As tomorrow is World Productivity Day, please see below for comments from SailPoint, MaintelSpitch, KCOM and LogMeIn as part of our experts comments series.  

The comments include: 

  • Sion Lewis, Vice President of EMEA at LogMeIn, discussing how employee engagement and wellbeing must take centre stage in any organisation, and the role that remote working plays in achieving this 
  • Sandra Schroeter, International Head, Customer Engagement Technologies at LogMeIn, explaining the role that AI and chatbots play in customer experience, in addition to increasing employee productivity 
  • John Bennett, General Manager, Identity and Access Management Business Unit at LogMeIn, provides insight into the role unified identity solutions play in organisations security and the subsequent productivity for users 
  • Juliette Rizkallah, CMO at SailPoint, offers advice into the role that bot workers play in keeping productivity in humming along 
  • Rufus Grig, CTO at Maintelexplains why flexible working is becoming recognised as an enabler of increased productivity   
  • Gary Williams, Director of Sales and Consultancy, UK, at Spitchbelieves that more and more businesses will look at how they can use technology to make customer interactions more productive 
  • Andy Cory, Identity Management Services Lead at KCOM, provides his reasons as to why productivity is not a human only issue    

Juliette Rizkallah, CMO at SailPoint:  

“Businesses should embrace the end user’s desire to be productive, by making the process of onboarding and provisioning access faster and less manual. But streamlining access must not come at the cost of security and compliance. Rather, businesses can achieve a double benefit of efficiency gains which also improve an organisation’s security stance, freeing up IT teams to focus on strategic security issues.  We must empower our users to navigate technology in their own way. Employees are demonstrating that they want to be innovative and more efficient and IT can sometimes be seen as a barrier to workforce efficiency instead of an enabler, when they play a vital role in keeping organisations secure and therefore successful.   

“A further step in driving a more efficient workforce is via automation in the form of incorporating software bots as digital laborers who can take on repetitive tasks from their human counterparts. Could it be that this is the year that ‘bot’ workers come to the rescue to keep productivity humming along?   

“However, with the good can come some challenges. These software bots can have access to critical systems, applications and data, just like any other user within the organisation and should therefore be treated as a ‘digital identity’ and governed as such. From a security standpoint, bots are identities like their human counterparts, and unauthorised or even malicious access can derail business productivity, no matter where the cause of the breach originates.    

“To address this emerging issue, enterprises will need to apply their identity governance programmes to both human and non-human workers. This is the only way enterprises can continue to properly answer the age-old ‘who has access to what?’ question, simultaneously boosting both security and productivity at the heart of their organisations.”   

Rufus Grig, CTO at Maintel:  

“The UK has a productivity problem, and businesses need to act fast if we are to see economic growth. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has even said labour productivity was lower over the past decade than at any time in the 20th Century. But how do we boost productivity if staff already feel overworked?   

“A recent report found that almost half of Brits have noticed an increase in stress and workload in the past 12 months, and this only serves to compound the problem – burning the candle at both ends simply isn’t conducive to a productive workforce. With Brexit looming, and businesses remaining cautious, decision makers must begin to take digital workplace technologies more seriously and implement measures that will enhance the productivity of their employees.  

“However, there isn’t a simple one size fits all fix. According to past research by Maintel, those aged below 35 feel they’re most productive in the office (48%), while only 19% of those aged above 55 would agree. For younger workers, this could be due to preferring face-to-face support from more experienced co-workers, or because they’re living with their parents or in shared accommodation, so feel they cannot produce their best work at home. On the other hand, older employees tend to have more responsibilities at home, and remote working allows them to be more efficient with their time while striking a better work-life balance. 
“Flexible working is becoming recognised as an enabler of increased productivity, and is steadily being implemented more successfully across UK business. Instead of enforcing blanket policies for either home working or office working, businesses must alter their approach and provide the digital tools necessary for their workers to operate in the environment they feel most productive as individuals – whether that’s at home or in the office.”   

Gary Williams, Director of Sales and Consultancy, UK, at Spitch: 

“Much of the focus around World Productivity Day revolves around how we can make the workplace more productive. However, what people neglect to think about is how technology can help us complete everyday menial tasks faster, smarter and more securely, ensuring we can spend our free time on more value-adding activities, whether it’s business or pleasure.  

“Take paying a bill, or making a doctor’s appointment, or complaining about your broadband connection. Many people are forced to make such phone calls either when they wake up in the morning or during their lunch break, and have to sit in long call queues in the process. We all know they’re infuriating, but such processes can be far less arduous. Voice recognition technology and AI have developed to such an extent that intelligent voice bots can handle these queries, ridding the need for us to waste our lunch break sitting on hold. Better still, these calls can be made at any point in the day. Not only does it make your own day more productive, freeing you to tick off life admin so much more quickly. It also helps alleviate unnecessary stress both on the consumer and the call centre staff’s sides.   

“The technology makes the respective workplace more efficient and helps protect brand reputation, as customers are left happy that their query has been dealt with in a timely manner – it’s a win-win. Going forward, we predict more and more businesses will look at how they can use technology to make customer interactions more productive, while the publicly will increasingly demand voice-based interactions.”   

Andy Cory, Identity Management Services Lead at KCOM:  

“World Productivity Day is a good time to consider the impact of poor IT management on frontline employees. Organisations should review whether they are utilising existing tools to the best of their capabilities, and consider which new technologies could help enhance the productivity levels of their workforce. For an employee to be productive, it’s vital that they are able to access the tools they need for their job as quickly as possible. Every worker needs the right tools, and, in the modern office, these are accessed via secure, password-protected portals.   

“However, most employees need a myriad of tools to perform their tasks across the day. With different tools requiring different passwords, with different complexity rules and different expiry rules, employees very quickly fall victim to password fatigue, and can waste time trying to keep track of, or calling Helpdesk to reset, their many passwords. By adopting single sign-on managed by an identity and access management system to access an entire suite of tools, employees can save time and frustration – and organisations can see productivity levels increase.   

“If organisations think they have an employee productivity problem, it’s worth reviewing technologies, systems and processes before taking it out on employees. Badly designed systems and old technologies can negatively impact productivity across the entire business, contributing to systematic productivity issues.    

“Good employees can’t do good work without good technology. Productivity is far from a human-only issue. IT management may sound simple, but it’s a key factor in achieving your productivity potential.”   

Sion Lewis, Vice President of EMEA at LogMeIn:  

“ ‘Employee engagement and wellbeing must take centre stage in any organisation.’ This is a statement that all organisations must live by, especially as recruitment and hiring continue to become more competitive. However, modern business pressures are impacting the way we think about wellbeing, so organisations must be willing to transform their workplace.   

“But what can organisations do to ensure employees remain happy and stress-free, but also keep productivity high?   

“According to recent research, 50% of the UK workforce is set to work remotely by 2020, which is widely being seen as the best way to ensure employee wellbeing while maintaining productivity. Remote working can improve employee productivity by allowing staff to work when and where they’re most efficient. This will give them more freedom, but it also requires new initiatives and technologies to make the approach work. Ensuring that employees can communicate and collaborate with each other anywhere, anytime is what makes remote working possible.   

“A study by Stanford, which compared work from home employees versus those working in an office, validated the fact that remote workers enjoyed greater productivity, while also exhibiting lower rates of attrition and taking fewer sick days. The immense benefits of working from home have grown in recent years and there is no doubt that organisations will continue to adopt this initiative in the long term.    

“This World Productivity Day, remember, when your workforce feels supported and able to work in the most productive way for them, ultimately, your organisation will prosper.”   

Sandra Schroeter, International Head, Customer Engagement Technologies at LogMeIn:

“Technology is permeating every area of business today and customer experience is not immune to this. Specifically, AI chatbots and NLP are helping companies in virtually every industry to provide better customer service at scale without having to rely on the contact centre to resolve every customer query manually.   

“That being said, AI is by no means a replacement for humans. Instead, it complements the work of human agents and enables them to be more productive. By using NLP and machine learning to suggest appropriate responses to customer enquiries AI helps to manage customer interactions and drives improved operational efficiency, faster resolutions and more personalised customer engagement. This is a win win for businesses and customers alike.    

“This World Productivity Day, companies should look to leverage the capabilities of AI to increase employee productivity and to enable consumer satisfaction in turn giving them a competitive advantage.”   

John Bennett, General Manager, Identity and Access Management Business Unit at LogMeIn: 

“Productivity is not something users normally associate with security best practices. It often feels like security procedures slow things down, create hoops to jump through and often get in the way of productivity. However, this doesn’t need to be the case. Instead, security practices can actually enable productivity if implemented thoughtfully.    

“One specific area that a productivity and security crossover can be seen is in identity management. Traditionally, people’s identity in the workplace is complex, with employees using many applications from a variety of devices, networks and locations. This presents the challenge of how to increase security, without making it challenging for employees to access work.   

“Implementing a unified identity solution that includes single-sign-on, enterprise password management and  biometric authentication offers convenience and productivity for users, while a holistic view of user activity provides IT with the control they need to ensure the organisation is secure.” 

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