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Unifying Cyber and Physical Security to Accommodate the Flexible, Post-Pandemic Workforce

When we think about the future of work, the concept of flexibility often springs to mind. The effects of the pandemic have forced us to consider remote work, working schedules, and work-life balance in an entirely new light. Organizations now need to adapt to not just health related regulations, but the culture shift of a workforce with totally new preferences. When it comes to protecting our organizations and ensuring that identity and access management as well as facility management solutions are flexible enough to adapt to these changing needs, there is a lot to consider.

How do we ensure that disparate workforces have the flexibility to securely access work from everywhere? While working a day in the office, logging off from a PC and travelling home to a place where work is inaccessible used to be the norm, we now expect to be able to access everything we need from our kitchen tables via a wide range of devices. It’s clear from various research that working from home is here to stay.

How do we handle our front lobbies and the concept of visitors in a world where physical restrictions are changing on a regular basis, and adapt workplace dynamics accordingly? Pen and paper check-ins, walk-in visits and unprepared lobbies are a thing of the past. Instead, it is now the standard to plan visits in advance, complete various pre-screening questions and follow strict protocols upon arrival. The capacities and occupancies of our buildings are now crucial to ensure safety, and the flexibility over the management of visitors pre-, during and post visits plays a key role. 

How do we control physical workspaces to accommodate to quickly changing business needs, hybrid workforces and individual preferences? In addition to visitors, the management of employee, contractor and vendor access has often been a disparate strategy with little cohesion. Today, organizations must bring disparate identity sources and access management systems together to centrally manage physical and digital access for those identities and transform the complexities of the post-covid office.

Ready to reopen your offices? Our Future of Work Resource Center provides everything you need to enable a flexible, secure and seamless workplace whether in person or remote.

Let’s explore further the various layers when it comes to ensuring that the future of work accommodates the flexibility required from both the workplace and the workforce.

A Zero Trust Model for Remote and On-Premise Access to Desktop, Cloud and Network Resources

Laptops, tablets, smartphones, access to windows, VPN and numerous corporate applications are just a handful of the devices, networks and resources embedded into the days of the modern workforce. With disparate workforce and systems requiring different types of security and access, the choice over how authentication is achieved is imperative for today’s organizations. In a time where being able to access work from any place and any time is so important, HID’s multi-factor authentication solutions provide organizations with the flexibility to create authentication experiences that are tailor made for their security needs and workforce preferences, involving:

  • Secure access to corporate networks and resources — VPN, cloud and desktop applications, individual PCs and shared workstations, as well as digital signature, and email encryption
  • A diverse range of devices, authentication methods and technologies to choose from — contactless cards, smart cards, security keys, mobile and OTP tokens, PKI and/or FIDO enabled devices, and biometrics including facial recognition, behaviour, and fingerprint
  • The power of using a single credential for converged access to multiple resources, from IT to enterprise facilities
  • The choice between cloud and on-premise solutions
  • The ability to issue and manage credentials and devices from anywhere from a single, flexible management platform
  • MFA that goes beyond and secures everyone who contributes to your organization, whether this be full-time, temporary, on-site, or remote workers

Discover HID’s advanced MFA solutions.

Flexible Visitor Management Solutions for a Post-Pandemic Enterprise

With international and local restrictions changing on a daily basis, organizations must have the tools to manage their visitor workflows flexibly and adapt to new regulations at any time. Even after the pandemic, managing the flow of visitors in and out of buildings on a larger scale will present new challenges that simply aren’t viable with visitor management systems that lack customization options and advanced workflow abilities.

It’s not just about typical visitors, either. What about managing vendors and contractors? Or the hybrid workforce that will need on-and-off access to the office? With HID’s visitor management solutions, it’s easy to customize and configure workflows which can provision access correctly no matter the identity type. Moreover, intelligent access provisioning makes it possible to match specific visitor needs, creating a personalized and fully automated process with no need for front desk engagement – great for compliance with social distancing.

HID helps organizations to transform their visitor experience and achieve flexibility in their processes with a visitor management portfolio that features:

  • Cloud and on-premise deployment options to accommodate your preferences — we can work with you to find what best fits your organization
  • Extensive integration with existing systems such as PACS, HRM and training systems to streamline the entire visitor management process
  • Integration with tools such as Microsoft Outlook calendar, to send invites or register guests and check room availability from any device
  • Customizable email, SMS and check-in options
  • A range of enterprise credentials to best suit individual needs: physical credentials, mobile credentials, QR codes and more
  • The ability to enforce additional workflows based on health requirements, e.g., health screening and safety policies
  • Intelligent visitor reporting and audits

With enterprises turning to visitor management to coordinate staff returning to work and hoteling in the corporate office space, HID’s solutions enable a specific set of workflows and resources to extend visitor use cases to employees.

Read more about HID’s visitor management solutions.

Managing Physical Access to Secure the Flexible Workforce

With the hybrid workforce being here to stay, organizations must ensure that their physical workplaces are future-proofed and can handle changing access requirements at any time. With traditional technologies, this becomes time consuming and cumbersome to deal with when spanning across multiple systems and/or locations.

A physical identity and access management (PIAM) solution such as HID SAFE™ brings disparate systems together to provide organizations with complete visibility over their identities and the areas and resources they are accessing within their premises. This ranges from the flexible provisioning of enterprise credentials — digital and physical — right until the revocation of an individual's credentials, to helping organizations accommodate the blended workforce, including the complex access requirements their varying work schedules bring.

By centralizing and automating these processes with a PIAM solution, organizations can manage access for employees, contractors, visitors, tenants, customers and more from a single, intuitive point to ensure regulations and access limits are always met. There are numerous workflows, capabilities and configurations to choose from to accommodate changing needs:

  • Flexible reporting platforms — know that you can instantly see how many people are in the building at one time, and which doors they have been through
  • Access to user-friendly interfaces to centrally manage all identities from multiple devices
  • The ability to make changes quickly to adapt to real-time situations — immediately terminate and adjust access across location and access points
  • The integration of disparate systems to assign access levels throughout the whole organization
  • The facilitation of hybrid work by provisioning access to specific on-site locations and workstations, rather than giving “all-access” rights to everyone  
  • The protection of the integrity of credentials and access to buildings by switching access rights off and on, on demand and as required to enable part-time usage and flexible work schedules  

Discover more about how to create a flexible workplace access in this webinar, or read about HID’s PIAM solutions.

Although there’s a lot to consider when securing a future-ready, flexible organization, we’ve got solutions to transform your IAM infrastructure. Need help navigating what’s next? Read our eBook or speak to an expert.

Maria MacRitchie leads the product marketing efforts for the IAM Workforce Authentication solution globally. She has over 15 years of experience with B2B and B2C products, services and marketing communications within the IT and telecom industries. Maria has been with HID for seven years, holding various communication roles within the Professional Services, PACS Cloud Services and Product Marketing teams.