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Security Technology Is Enabling Future Ways of Working

In the face of changing social expectations, employers are rethinking the settings in which work happens. This has implications for security across the spectrum, challenging security leaders to deliver innovative solutions. New technologies based on trusted identities play a key role, helping organizations to effectively meet future ways of working in the changing workplace environment.

The Evolving Workplace Is Impacting Future Ways of Working

The typical employee experience no longer exists, and from culture to leadership, organizations are looking for the right approach. While some have moved to fully remote models, such as Airbnb’s work and live anywhere policy, not all companies or employees find that a fully remote, distributed team works best. Hybrid work models are emerging as successful with 83 percent of employees indicating they prefer the arrangement. In fact, 63 percent of high-growth companies say they have already adopted a “productivity anywhere” workforce model, Accenture reports.

It’s not just the physical parameters of work that are changing. Hand in hand with the work-from-anywhere model has come the rise of the fluid perimeter. With bring-your-own-device policies and a rising tide of Internet of Things (IoT), the physical perimeter of the past has effectively dissolved and a new digital one has emerged.

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Hybrid work models are becoming more common and changing the nature of work to a thing that is done, not always a place to go.

Trust Is the Foundation for Future Ways of Working

As hybrid work models continue to evolve, they serve as a transformative force in converging people, technology and places. Work will continue to become a thing you do and not necessarily a place you go to every day, making it critical for security infrastructure, processes and solutions to support the organization. For future ways of work to flourish, trusted identity becomes the foundation — and the perimeter — for security efforts.

What Is a Trusted Identity?        

Everything begins with a trusted identity that is made up of a unique set of characteristics identifying a person, place or thing in a specified setting. A trusted identity for a person includes both who you are and the identity interaction. Who you are is established with a set of individual traits such as birth dates, driver’s license numbers, or biometric data and relational data such as a name or address. The identity interaction refers to how that identity is represented, such as physical or digital documents.

Physical identities are common. It’s a form factor we are all familiar with. From paper to plastic cards, we’re used to using these forms of identification to authenticate who we are in specific settings. A universal form of physical identity is a passport that enables the user to verify their identity but also allows freedom of travel between nations.

As the world moves toward a digital future, digital identities are becoming increasingly common. A digital identity can be as simple as a username and password that authenticates a user on a website or app. Digital documents such as ePassports and mobile driver’s licenses (mDLs) are becoming more widely available. Cloud issuance and mobile adoption are enabling the shift, although trusted physical IDs continue to underpin digital ones.

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Trusted identity is the foundation for future ways of working.

Future Ways of Working Are Being Enabled by Security Technology Today

While the pandemic put into motion the largest technology experiment seen to date, today those technologies are being adapted to support evolving hybrid work models and establish connected environments. The benefits of trusted identities multiply when traditional physical IDs and digital IDs function together as a full verification, authentication and access ecosystem.

Embedded Technology

Implementing a layered security approach that blends physical and digital security enables converged credentials, replacing multiple cards with a single smart card that can perform multiple functions. An embedded secure operation system makes it possible for credentials to store important data with security protections for a variety of applications, empowering issuers and administrators to manage the entire lifecycle across a range of physical locations and digital resources. By establishing trusted identity through a single, smart credential, organizations can transform the user experience while adding trust to cloud, IoT and edge devices.

Converged Physical and Logical Ecosystems

The ability to decentralize card issuance and remotely provision credentials helps administrators more effectively manage access control in a converged ecosystem.    

In turn, converged ecosystems close the gap between physical and logical access, integrating management of resources and a host of other services that can be delivered through the integrations that cloud applications offer. Converged ecosystems simplify how organizations manage the complete identity lifecycle, while extending strong authentication from the desktop to the door and assigning use rights as their roles and privileges change.

Contactless Technology

We’re seeing, too, a rise in contactless technologies and enhanced functionality in support of a changed workplace environment. Prompted at first by a desire to enhance health and safety, contactless encounters have become increasingly expected. Cloud adoption is both a driving force and an enabler of contactless solutions.

For example, cloud adoption is shaping secure credentials by decentralizing issuance. As companies offer more flexible work schedules and work-from-home options, they are looking to meet rising expectations around improved user experiences, delivering seamless and stress-free credentialing and authentication for all their employees, both at home and in the office. Decentralized, remote provisioning, issuance and printing of smart cards offers a more convenient and real-time solution while improving the end-to-end experience.

person logging into computer with a smart card

Embedded technology assists with seamless user experiences.

Embracing Future Ways of Working

Viewed through the lens of the changing workplace, modernization of security technology isn’t just about making spaces safer and more secure. In this context, modernization also supports core business needs, such as user convenience, that have implications for recruiting and retention, by giving employees a more frictionless and hassle-free means of getting and using their credentials.

From remote provisioning of credentials to the use of a single trusted identity for both physical and digital access, modernized technology can help make access control an enabler of workplace change. Security can step up to support the reshaped work environment, driving business outcomes by meeting employee needs more effectively, while simultaneously safeguarding spaces and systems.

Establishing trusted identity as the foundational element then allows for continued transformation as environments become smarter, promising hyperconnectivity for a continuous authentication experience that makes security invisible to the user.

Visit the HID security & identity trends blog for more information on what’s happening in the security industry today.

Jim Meier is a Senior Director of Product Marketing with HID Global and manages the portfolio of desktop printer products. He has more than 25 years of experience working with printing technologies and has 20 patents related to these technologies.