Consider this scenario. You’re starting a new job. There’s a lot to do, starting on day one. You have digital forms to complete and send to HR. You have emails to start reading and replying to. You need to set up your chat or video messaging systems to get connected with coworkers. And you want to start doing your actual job – whatever that is.
To do all these things, you first need to get your work device – whether that’s a desktop, laptop or smart phone – connected to the workplace network.
In some situations, this is an easy first step. Your new IT department either gives you a computer that’s already connected or they give you a password to access the internet.
But if you work in government – or are simply visiting an agency building – you might have a very different experience. More likely, you will need to contact the IT helpdesk to onboard your device and connect it to the network. But because IT is constantly getting these support requests from multiple users – including new employees, current workers with new devices, and visiting guests – you’re probably going to have to wait while an overwhelmed IT team works through a backlog of tickets.
This backlog of requests for network connectivity strains IT departments and hinders users trying to get work done. But it’s difficult for government organizations to prevent it from happening.
That’s because there are many more considerations that agencies must consider before connecting a new user or device to their network.
For one, every government agency and department has to be acutely aware of data and network security threats. Every agency has large amounts of sensitive data, including intellectual property, strategic plans, and personnel records. Plus, many agencies also maintain top secret information related to national security and defense.
To protect all that data from nefarious actors, agencies must create secure network access as part of a layered protection strategy for IT security. Additionally, security teams have to know who is on their networks at all times. So even if a user is admitted onto the network, they must be continuously authenticated and monitored to ensure appropriate use.
Finally, as new devices are onboarded – meaning they are connected to the wired or wireless network – agencies have to know that those tools are equally secure. But with bring-your-own-device initiatives on the rise in the public and private sector, agencies don’t always know that a new device will be approved or secure against the latest cybersecurity risks.
These challenges lead many agencies to rely on manual onboarding and authentication by IT departments. And they often do so by creating direct port connections.
But the reality is that with staff shortages and a rising volume of technologies to manage, agencies can’t afford to have IT repeatedly configuring port security settings, or for new users to be idle for a week while their accounts are provisioned.
Government employees must be able to contribute to their missions on day one, and they need a more secure and reliable means of accessing the agency network. And IT organizations need a way to reduce the complexity and overhead associated with wireless access, so they can scale BYOD programs while maintaining the agency’s security posture.
To find out how agencies can accomplish these goals, take our free 10-minute course, Providing Secure Network Access for Government Users.