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Restoring user freedom in the security-first enterprise

Andrew Avanessian | Sept. 23, 2014
As organisations step up their game to address new threats, there is one key stakeholder who often goes unnoticed: the end user.

This not only yields security improvements, it also drives user empowerment by giving employees the freedom to install applications and manage application updates as needed. At the same time, IT should see a reduction in service requests and incidents, freeing up resources to allocate to bigger, more strategic projects.

A least privilege environment will be especially empowering for tech-savvy Gen-Yers, those that have grown up in the Internet era and are accustomed to (and even expecting) access to what they want, when they want. By providing them with autonomy over how they manage their systems, organizations will be better able to embrace and cater to this new breed of user.

Personalized Messaging
A big part of user empowerment is making users especially those who might be less informed than the resident techies feel as though they're tuned into IT's processes, providing them with education around the limitations of their downloads and what next steps might be required.

User Account Controls (UAC) are a standard pop-up feature on most Windows machines that were traditionally responsible for doing just this. But fixed-messages filled with technical jargon do more harm than good, especially when it results in repeated calls from confused users to the IT help desk or worst still, the user clicking continue to a piece to malware.

By thinking from a user's perspective about how those messages are presented, organizations can create more customized messaging that feels truly human, rather than an automated response. These messages might offer, for instance, multi-lingual support and corporate branding. And with localization, reasoning and help desk integration, all in terms that are easy to understand, users are not only provided with a better sense of what they need to do next, but a heightened user experience.

At the heart of any organization is its employees. To attract and retain talent means organizations must transform their working environment to reflect a user-first mentality, rather than one that is IT-led. By taking a more flexible approach to privileges, organizations can harness the abilities of their more tech-savvy employees that demand greater access and power.

And with a more personalized approach to their messaging, they can improve end user education among their less technical workforce. Perhaps most important is that neither of these methods have to come at the expense of security in fact, they enhance it in the best way possible, by transforming its practice into a more productive, positive, and empowering experience.


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