Allowing staff to use their own devices for work would seem to make sense, but also brings serious security risks – could Desktop as a Service (DaaS) be the ideal way to balance the need to provide added flexibility and ensuring data is fully protected?
Protecting data is of the utmost importance in local government. But like all organisations, councils also need to be as efficient and responsive as possible. With all public services and processes now being digitally-driven and greater pressure to adopt modern and more flexible working practices, there is a need to provide staff with secure remote access to applications and information, wherever they are – and on whatever device they are working on.
But is it a good idea for councils to allow their employees to use their own devices for work? Or does that pose too much of a risk?
On one hand, certainly from a user’s perspective, it could be seen as a natural step. After all, you would not normally expect your employer to provide the clothing or footwear you come to work in. A mobile device is a very personal choice and many people own and make use of a laptop, a tablet and one or two smartphones. It would seem to make perfect sense to allow them to make use of these devices for work purposes.
BYOD has already been shown to deliver real benefits. People want to work remotely and while they are on the move and BYOD also has the added benefit of allowing staff to use devices of their own that are more powerful than anything the council can afford to buy. It thus enables workers to be more productive – and reduces the need for the authority to spend money on the very latest technology.
But – and it is quite a big but – there are serious risks with BYOD. You can of course, try to ensure that all devices are equipped with appropriate anti-malware protection, and use containerisation to keep data in a separate, secure area on devices. This will allow it to be wiped out remotely, should the device be lost or stolen.
However, these measures alone won’t provide a rock-solid assurance that data will be totally safe, or that someone unauthorised won’t be able to gain access to systems. Indeed, the government’s own BYOD Guidance notes that, as well as formulating an effective usage policy, you will need to understand the legal issues (this especially important now that GDPR is being enforced), ensure effective authentication, enforce automated backups, and take other measures to minimise risk.
But perhaps the best way to get both the benefits of BYOD and stay secure, is to adopt Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS). With DaaS, the desktop is virtual and hosted in the cloud. No apps or files need to reside on the client device, and it does not matter what device is being used. As long as it can run the apps, the user always gets access to the same software, services and information.
Of course, you will still need to have a robust usage policy, solid authentication and always make sure connections are secure. But no data will actually be held on mobile devices, and users can work on any device, wherever they are. DaaS can be offered as a fully-managed service and with 24/7 support, and also removes any worry about updates to security and software and how to apply them.
DaaS would seem to be almost too good to be true and, like all the best ideas, it is essentially simple. There really are no real downsides. DaaS does exactly what is supposed to do and can give local authorities and councils the flexibility and the protection they need to introduce BYOD with genuine confidence.
Designed to deliver
This is exactly what SCC’s DaaS offering is designed to deliver. By simplifying BYOD, it can help local government organisations provide a modern and flexible environment that enables users to securely access their desktop, applications and data from any location, on any device, whenever they need to.
As our DaaS offering is hosted on our secure and resilient cloud platform, it makes provisioning of users fast and easy. By opening up the opportunity for staff to work from any location – on their own preferred device – it provides a solid foundation for BYOD initiatives that will provide enhanced flexibility, improved responsiveness and ultimately, enable councils to deliver a better service for citizens.
To find out more on SCC’s DaaS offering please click here.