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Challenges faced by IT managers with a large frontline workforce

Redesigning  ​IT architecture to meet the changing demands of the workforce.

Sudden digital transformation and a drastic shift to remote working have led to gazillions of troubles for IT administrators in the past couple of years. Coping with such a major shift has been the toughest for IT professionals besides the frontline workers.

The remote-work experiment due to the pandemic almost lasted for 2 years now. And here we are, looking forward to an extended hybrid work atmosphere (work from home + work from the office). However, every small and big business sector is trying to adapt to this change through constant up-gradation of their IT infrastructure.

With the changing business models, companies are now focusing on improving their IT strategies. Amidst these, IT managers are facing tougher challenges to build a strategy that aligns with the hybrid work culture.

What are these challenges? Are there possible solutions to these problems? and answers to many other questions are covered in this article. Give it a read and check if these problems are affecting the productivity of your organization.

Challenges faced by IT administrators

Employees have had less time to adjust themselves to the latest, virtual working platforms. Many of them who had been low Tech-savvy had to completely rely on the IT administrators. The entire tech ecosystem of the companies right from the frontline support staff to the executives and IT managers faced an unexpected increase in the burden in this scenario. They worked day and night to assist the employees in making a uniform virtual workforce.

The entire IT architecture of many companies was redesigned to meet the changing demands of the workforce. IT admins also started providing training, tutorials, and tips to the employees. They struggled to keep such a huge network of frontline workers connected in the hybrid working model.

Here’s a list of some of the important challenges faced by the IT professionals to manage the huge frontline workers:

1. Access to privileged and sensitive information

2. Lack of security awareness amongst the workforce

3. Lesser opportunities for innovation

4.Limited funding for innovation and training

5. Time constraints

6. Lack of tailor-made solutions for the employees

7. Lack of sufficient digital tools for the frontline workers

Let’s now discuss some specific IT challenges that have been prevalent over the years:

1. Data protection – security and privacy

A company’s workforce has access to company data including privileged and sensitive information about customers, business reports, etc. As the entire workforce is shifting to digital work systems, the risk of phishing scams is likely to increase in the near future. These scams include malware attacks through emails, fake links, SMS, and many such activities.

Further, employees use their personal devices and Wi-Fi while working from home. This can also increase the risk of malware attacks.  Some of them also take home the electronic or paper documents of the company that might result in a breach in the privacy of the company. The practices like using personal emails or messaging apps for sharing business documents can also pose a considerable risk to the company’s security and privacy.

2. Monitoring employee activity

In a digital workplace, companies need to keep watch on their employees’ participation in the company’s work-related activities. Employee monitoring is essential for assessing a company’s productivity, security, and keeping a detailed report of the work completed by the employees. Identification of any suspicious activity and keeping the employees up-to-date with their tasks needs to be conducted constantly to monitor the employees’ activities.

There are a variety of indicators to monitor the same. For instance, the internet used, email usage, etc. IT admins need to come up with insightful combinations of the criteria that can give them a complete overview of the employees’ productivity on a regular basis.

3. Managing business assets

Business assets management is the real-time monitoring of the company’s IT as well as non-IT technological assets. It offers a basic overview of the status, maintenance, and expenses of the company's machinery. Managing and assessing corporate assets is essential for the technological and economical aspects. The IT admin has to keep a complete record of the asset administration and IT resources allocation in the company. Thus, he/she has to play the role of finance manager alongside. The need for asset management has increased since the hybrid model has come into the picture where companies have experienced a digital shift with increased demands for IT assets.

4. High staff turnover

Attrition is something every company has to deal with, but managing it might not cause much of a nuisance when the process is all offline, but when everyone is working from home, there are a lot of problems one needs to deal with. The new employees hired to replace the previous ones need a robust onboarding system. They also need to understand the work culture and organization values while working from home. Similarly, the offboarding process needs to be smooth and simple for the ones leaving. And during this whole process, a large number of company resources are constantly occupied to support the onboarding and offboarding process. It becomes difficult for IT managers to provide support to each technological aspect of this process.

5. Managing devices

Businesses need to make sure that all the devices deployed for the frontline workers should be equipped with the latest apps and tools to improve frontline productivity. Organizations need to distribute updates to every app and tool through different systems to ensure that the workers are always updated with their systems. Tracking devices in real-time, generating automated work reports, device health monitoring, etc. are also necessary for improving the productivity of the frontline workers.

IT admins need to come up with a solution for each of these aspects. In the era, when the work is 100% digitized, admins need to restrict access to some of the confidential information for the employees to ensure the company’s privacy and security.

6. Communication with the top-level executives

The IT infrastructure has become highly dynamic with the hybrid work culture. This volatile system makes it challenging for the admins to report every activity to the executives on the higher levels. This might increase the risk of friction and confusion among the IT administration team making their jobs tougher than usual. This challenge of central management of the IT infrastructure is getting more acute with the increasing mobilization of the workforce.

7. Limited resources

Sophisticated cyber-attacks are trending nowadays. If the administration team lacks enough expertise to identify such attacks, they might go unnoticed. This can affect the data privacy and security of the company. Another issue faced at this point by the IT admins is the lack of resources. If the company doesn’t have enough funding dedicated to IT infrastructure management, the admin team might fail to prevent such situations.

Overcoming the IT admin challenges

Overcoming these huge spectra of challenges posed in front of the IT admins needs optimum resources to manage the workflow, monitor the same, and keep the security and privacy of the company intact. Here are some simple steps to overcome these challenges:

a. Automation for optimum resource utilization

Automation allows the IT administration to identify hardware and software that are of no use. Reassigning devices, removing malware files and malicious apps, and endpoint security, as well as management, can be taken care of with various automation systems.

b. Enterprise device management

Cross-platform visualization is crucial for every endpoint in the company. Investing in Asset management, enterprise security management, and analytics is essential at this point.

c. Making the employees aware of the security issues and reporting

Every employee should be made aware of the use of VPN and the company's network while working on the company's tasks. They should be made aware of the process to report security issues while working on-site or remotely. However, they don't show up for solutions proactively. Hence, you might need a help desk or an interface that ensures better communication.

d. Real-time security frameworks

Real-time security frameworks that constantly monitor the security of the endpoints work as a protective shield especially in workplaces with a large number of frontline workers. This includes end-to-end authentication, file-system-level security, data encryption, and real-time security analytics.

All in all, the endpoints form the core of any IT administration. No matter how many awareness campaigns you conduct in the organization, it is difficult to control the end-user practices towards security and management. Hence, the IT administration needs to take a step ahead and make things easier and simpler for them to work in a trouble-free atmosphere, ensuring the organization's security at the same time.

Some of the features that can help the IT admins and managers achieve these goals are data encryption, asset management, certificate and security management, monitoring and reporting, central device management, URL filtering, restricting access to google sites and confidential data, management of employee logs, and many more.

Getting these resources individually will surely eat up the time and energy that your IT admins and manager can invest in managing a secure and sound workflow with a huge number of frontline workers to achieve the desired business goals.

Hence, Evren has come up with a comprehensive management OS solution for desktops and laptops. It has in-built systems that take care of all the IT-related problems through different tools and applications. Thus, the admins can easily automate the entire process of IT security and management.

Choosing managed OS systems over VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure)

A centrally managed OS has advantages over a VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) when it comes to IT administration and end-user experience.

To begin with, a VDI increases IT cost for organizations in terms of VDI licenses, cloud infrastructure, bandwidth and IT management overheads. The end-users  require a stable and reliable internet connection and may still face issues while using the VDI with high latency leading to low performance.

These issues would not exist if the operating system provides the same level of manageability and control as a VDI. An OS works at the device level reducing the dependency on a strong internet connection for getting the tasks done and thus increasing end-user experience and productivity, while also lowering the cost of IT.

Thus, IT administration can draw more benefits while opting for OS-based management systems. Autonomous Operating Systems for desktops and laptops can bring many advantages to an enterprise:

1. Agile and flexible tech solutions

2. Boosts the enterprise performance

3. Saves on the time and money that goes into purchasing individual resources

4. Controlled data security and cybersecurity; sophisticated endpoint security

5. Efficient task management

6. Precise workforce reports

Wrapping it up

Thus, with the changing work culture, IT admins are loaded with the responsibilities to manage the workforce, security, and privacy along with optimum productivity. It has been difficult for IT managers to manage every task amidst the volatile workforce. This demands automation of the IT management processes to overcome the myriad of problems faced by the administration department.