By Michel Van Den Berg, General Manager EMEIA, Jamf.
While some employees may be looking forward to returning to the office, others are now seeking more flexibility in the way they work. A recent report by PwC confirms that splitting time between the office and home is expected to become the new normal. With reduced commuting, more time to spend with loved ones and limited risk of contracting the virus, it’s easy to see why employees are in no rush to return to the office, five days a week.
This new hybrid-working approach could offer the financial industry a happy medium between employer and employees’ needs but it is reliant on the adoption of modern solutions. Technology trends such as IT consumerisation played a crucial role in keeping employees connected last year and emerging technology, like AI and IoT, will further aid employees’ performance and innovative thinking without needing to be tethered to the office. In adopting these trends, the financial industry will continue transforming and creating new digital services to offer employees and customers.
Here are five ways, according to Michel Van Den Berg, General Manager of EMEIA at Jamf, that the financial sector can truly embrace hybrid working for employees while remaining dynamic, compliant and secure:
- Include employees in the decision-making process
Technology has an integral role to play in creating a positive working environment whether at home, in the office or both. It encourages inclusivity and collaboration even if employees live thousands of miles apart. As a result, it enhances talent attraction, engagement, and retention efforts.
Digital natives, like generation Z, expect to have the same modern technology apps and devices they use in their personal lives. Therefore, by enabling them to select their hardware devices at work, through an employee-choice programme, the financial industry will remove the challenges linked to understanding new and unfamiliar technology – which will make the speed of innovation faster and more stable.
- Manage employee expectations
The financial sector will need to report and measure its investments against successful utilisation rates so it’s crucial that employees adopt their chosen technology. To assess, check and share information about it, organisations can use various communication channels. For example, they can use an employee survey to understand what employees want from their devices and how they are using them. The results will provide valuable insights into factors like OS preference, the adoption success of a new app or where there could be potential compliance grey areas. Over time, the survey data will help to chart progress and validate investments.
IT, HR and marketing teams should work together to implement an online employee portal as a way to push notifications, let employees know when their new device is ready, when they may be receiving updates and information on their next device selection. This level of communication will always deliver a positive user experience.
- Select modern fit-for-enterprise technology
IT consumerisation has enabled popular user-friendly technology like Apple’s iPhone, Mac and iPad, to support employees as well as businesses. These devices are not only easy to use and feature-rich, with more than 235,000 business apps available from the App Store, they are also beautifully designed. As such, Apple’s enviable appeal has created an influx within the enterprise from the top down.
Apple’s focus on serving the needs of the enterprise has also led to developing a handpicked task force of partners in mobile strategy, app development and back-end system integration, which the financial sector can call upon to maximise their Apple hardware, software and service investments.
With some employees working permanently outside of the office and others commuting in at different times of the week, IT teams need to find a way to deploy, manage and secure the employees’ preferred hardware efficiently without contact. Luckily, managing an entire device fleet is made simple by using the existing built-in native apps that are fit for enterprises, saving valuable time and effort. For example, Apple Business Manager when integrated with a specialist Apple Enterprise Management platform, like Jamf, makes volume purchasing of apps, device enrolment, provisioning, deployment and security effortless and zero-touch for businesses. IT can personalise each device with the tools that employees need to deliver work more efficiently.
- Deliver compliance management remotely
The financial sector is under constant scrutiny and while it aims to leverage data-rich technology like AI and IoT to support the hybrid-worker, it can’t afford to make mistakes with confidential customer information. The consequences of a breach could result in heavy fines, loss of customer trust, reputational damage and even jail sentences. The conservatism in adopting relatively unknown technology like AI, where data could be mishandled, is further perpetuated by the time it takes to certify any new technology, which must be assessed and measured against the latest compliance requirements.
According to Deloitte, EU and international regulators are increasingly mindful of the potential risks of AI, particularly since the financial sector has suffered regulatory penalties concerning the mistreatment of customers and market misconduct in recent years.
As a way to overcome this barrier, IT can manage data access by delivering the right amount of permissions to apps, files and tools for the employee to remain productive. IT should also use the Centre for Internet Security’s (CIS) framework of 20 security controls, which has been developed to help the sector walk through recommended steps such as updating software, logging and auditing, managing user environments and system access.
Comprehensive compliance requirements can be rolled out to entire device fleets, at the same time, with easy-to-use Apple Enterprise Management’s dashboard. It also provides granular visibility to confirm that each device adheres to the security standards, without being overly intrusive.
Through Jamf Protect, IT will also gain additional layers of security while using native built-in apps to detect specific threats, prevent known malware, speed up incident response times and actively monitor for changes in compliance. IT can then roll out the most recent software, patch updates and operating systems via the cloud on the day of release, regardless of where the employee is located. And because the regulatory landscape is continually changing, financial organisations can add and deploy new requirements as they appear via the Enterprise Management Platform.
- Build for long term success and innovation
The financial sector is continually challenged to keep pace with customer demand for more accessible and innovative services. The past year has shown that digitising front and back-office operations can be achieved using technology, all while maintaining employee productivity. Now the sector must look at ways in which to sustain employee flexibility for a more positive work environment that breeds innovation.
One way is to streamline access efforts by provisioning local user accounts and synchronising the passwords of cloud services. Multi-factor authentication and single sign-on reduces disruption to the employees’ working day and provides a ‘gateway’ for them to tap into new services quickly.
The hybrid working approach facilitates the flexibility and agility that employees now want with the technology that serves them best. At the same time, it opens the door to more progressive emerging technology that can benefit the financial sector.
The use of a specific Apple Enterprise Management Platform and native productivity apps will empower the sector to manage entire device fleets wherever the employee chooses to work from, ensure technology investments are fully utilised, and provide security and compliance assurance in the new normal.