User Onboarding in Corona times: Another “new normal” for IT administrators
The familiar IT advance work that happened before a new employee heard, "Welcome to the team!" is both the same and very different in these days of COVID-19. Many employees now spend most or all of their work days in home offices.
This means a considerable amount of extra work for IT administrators who are taking a much more active role in designing, managing and optimizing WFH solutions. While the basics of hardware and software deployment remain essentially the same, there are new challenges such as remote updating and patching, differences in users’ home internet and wifi performance, router security, and especially VPN connections. It is important here to make the most of opportunities to automate common IT tasks while protecting data privacy and security.
IT’s role actually begins before new user onboarding. The company’s first interactive contact with job applicants now is usually via video. A positive user experience for hiring managers and job candidates is essential to attract the most-qualified talent. That means that the systems used are up-to-date, can smoothly handle multiple simultaneous video connections, and are flexible enough to accommodate users (and nervous job candidates) possibly unfamiliar with the video app or using less-than-ideal connections.
Privacy and data protection also come into play to ensure interview confidentiality. Sensitive company data and user must be handled in such a way to facilitate the process while remaining secure.
The next step is to ensure that new employees can work productively from home on their start date. IT staff can be stretched when several employees are starting at the same time.
Automated device management can do a lot to help:
- Automated detection of unpatched vulnerabilities in the operating system or in deployed applications (e.g. external video conferencing tools) is much faster and more reliable.
- User rights assignments and security are simplified because IT can ensure that company data is kept separate from users’ personal apps and data installed on company computers, and that user personal data is shielded from company access.
- Automation enables reliable and consistent administration of all endpoints, protects mobile devices and simplifies most routine and repetitive tasks.
- IT administrators can prioritize and optimize for specific practical and operational needs such as how, where and when to complete patching, updates and other maintenance tasks.
Optimization and flexibility are the key considerations for adapting to the added complexity of the “new normal.” Now is the time for companies to think seriously about how they can empower IT staff with the right tools. What was once “nice-to-have” is now “must-haves” for successful day-to-day operations.