Presented by VMware 

There’s a growing gap between employees’ expectations for a productive experience and organizations’ needs to maintain security. The only way to address this is to use modern AI technologies within an intelligent digital workspace.

All too often, conversations about digital transformation are centered around apps, devices, and hardware instead of its true driving force — employees. Empowered employees are at the heart of digital transformation and companies that boost employee access to the technology they need, when and how they need it, increase their organization’s overall performance.

This is not just a matter of opinion. VMware recently commissioned research on this topic and found business applications are enabling faster decision making, increased productivity, better collaboration, and higher job satisfaction. But having the apps available in the arsenal is not enough — making them easily accessible to employees is what counts most. In fact, companies that make apps highly accessible to employees are outperforming those that do not because accessibility of applications and data drives creativity and decision-making. Empowered employees are productive employees, and collective gains in productivity are driving increases in efficiency, service quality, and potential for success in recruitment of talent.

With these kinds of returns up for the taking, why is it that only 24 percent of the employees we surveyed stated IT is providing them with the apps they want? What’s holding companies back from empowering their employees to drive their digital transformation forward?

A growing trust gap between IT and employees

As the number of devices and apps accessing corporate data grows, IT faces a dissolving security perimeter problem where more locations result in more vulnerable networks and endpoints. This leads to a greater risk of cyber threats.

In this environment, it should come as no surprise that security is the top priority for mobility and digital workplace investments in 2018, according to CCS Insight’s 2017 Mobile Technology Buyer Survey. However, getting more security solutions is not the answer; rather, it is part of the problem.

Deploying stand-alone tools for various security needs buries data across multiple systems, limiting visibility, and creating silos. This perpetuates reactive, legacy security practices such as blocking application access and enforcing restrictive policies that obstruct employee experience.

In this scenario, no one wins. IT becomes an obstacle to innovation while trying to maintain control, and employees resort to “shadow IT,” choosing and using technology outside the approval of IT. Instead of maintaining control of the security perimeter with restrictive polices and practices, IT ironically creates an even more precarious security environment for the enterprise.

Unfortunately, this situation is more often the norm instead of the exception. There’s a growing gap between employees’ expectations for a productive experience and IT’s need to maintain security. This gap is getting in the way of companies’ digital transformation success.

Enter the intelligent digital workspace

In order to strike a balance between employee productivity and IT security, organizations must embrace a digital workspace strategy that helps organizations empower the workforce to be successful with a great experience. This strategy begins with a digital workspace platform that securely delivers anytime, anywhere access to all apps, services, and resources across all devices.

A digital workspace provides employees with choice and a seamless user experience — and IT with a secure foundation for safeguarding data and applications across an enterprise. Regardless of device or location, employees can access their apps and information easily and the data is fully secure. A digital workspace platform is the foundation that removes the silos for IT across desktop, mobile, and web technologies, and presents the workforce a consistent and seamless experience across all.

In the new world, where there are rapid changes across devices, clouds, and apps and hard-to-predict malware and cyber-security threats, the ability to make changes and remediate in a timely fashion is critical. Without this ability, IT resorts back to the behavior of locking down access and negatively impacting employee experience. This is where the new technologies driven by AI come in — enter the intelligent digital workspace.

Characteristics of an intelligent digital workspace

An intelligent digital workspace provides comprehensive insights and intelligence that help organizations automate changes and needed remediation for unforeseen issues. Organizations can use the power of big data and analytics across their entire digital workspace and set automated rules that ensure the best possible experience of their employees while staying on top of security risks and mitigating them at scale.

Here’s what you can expect an intelligent digital workspace to do:

Integrate insights to enable predictive security and optimize user experience: An intelligent digital workspace brings together actionable information across all endpoints into one easy-to-use comprehensive view across the entire employee population: desktops, mobile, corporate-owned, and BYO devices, apps (traditional or cloud), networks, and user experience. It then goes one step further and provides tangible recommendations when the service is impacted and the employee experience is not at par. Using easy-to-act views including alerts and notifications and actionable recommendations, organizations can pinpoint what’s working and what’s not in the environment and act quickly to remediate the situation. Organizations can analyze adoption of their services including their applications and engagement metrics to help them better understand how apps are used by employees and improve the experience based on this information.

Enable automation: An intelligent digital workspace comes with a decision engine that drives automation at scale using the big data and analytics from the entire workspace. Decision engine empowers IT to create rules to automate alerts, notifications and remediation steps across their entire environment. This automation ensures that proactive steps can be taken to drive the best possible experience and security within the entire environment. For example, in case the application engagement or experience falls below a certain threshold during the rollout of a new version of an app, the decision engine can be configured to automatically rollback and revert to the previous in no time, ensuring the best possible experience for the employees. Similarly, the decision engine can automatically quarantine and update a vulnerable endpoint using the automated rules.

Leverage the ecosystem: With ever increasing surface area of cyber threats, there will continue to be multiple point solutions for security of information on the endpoints or clouds. While each of these security products are critical, they tend to be disconnected from each other, limiting the overall visibility across the entire workspace environment and leading to a vulnerability slipping through the cracks. An intelligent digital workspace enables a modern approach to enterprise security by connecting the security solutions so that they can communicate with one another, data can be shared, and insights and actions can be applied across the enterprise. A risk or vulnerability identified by one system can then trigger actions in another, and patterns for risks and vulnerabilities across various systems can be analyzed and automated within the intelligent digital workspace.

In the era of digital transformation, empowered employees make the difference between companies that will flourish and companies that will fade into irrelevancy. An intelligent digital workspace provides employees with the apps needed to accelerate innovation — when, where, and how they want to access them. And it provides IT with an automated, predictive security approach to protect against threats while delivering the best employee experience.

Sumit Dhawan is a senior vice-president and general manager of the End-User Computing team at VMware. Workspace ONE is an integrated digital workspace platform that simply and securely delivers and manages any app on any device. It is the first and only digital workspace platform that integrates insights across devices, users, and apps to improve user experience and enable predictive security across the perimeter-less environment. Click here to learn more about Workspace ONE’s intelligence-driven capabilities and security partner ecosystem.

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