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When Panos Panay, Product Manager at Microsoft, announced the new version of Windows, he announced a number of news. Among other things, the ability to use integrated Android apps, a new version of the start menu, and more in-depth integration with Teams. My first thought was whether companies are really ready to switch from the familiar to what is seen as an entirely new experience – and in terms of the challenges involved?
The only thing that matters to me when it comes to new software, especially across operating systems, is the unified security settings. That is, a single setting across all devices, which can be changed with a few tweaks as needed. For example, developers need access to more tools than the average user.
There are some challenges I constantly hear about when it comes to so-called “security baselines”. The challenges relate to a lack of competence in terms of both use and understanding, as well as limited resources to implement changes. One example is that it is often desirable to develop a business faster than possible to keep pace with security.
In addition, there is another challenge that is unfortunately not sufficiently talked about – one that is not directly related to safety, but to the overall development in terms of the expectations of each employee. Many employees want the same user experience at work as in private units.
What we all have in common is the degree of interest. Personally, a classic tech geek, I have always found it exciting to explore new details, while others look to a PC or Mac as a tool for work, where the most important thing is that it works accurately and without problems.
In order to reduce resistance to change when making significant changes to the perceived user experience, two things are particularly important from a security perspective.
What do the warnings and errors look like in the new environment, and is the organization’s existing toolbox ready for the new telemetry?
If the company is not prepared for new visual impressions, there is likely to be more work for support functions, such as the service desk. In addition, the risk of errors and unidentified security issues increases. Employees do not know how to act when unexpected events occur.
The second challenge is how different technology teams work together. The service desk must be prepared to orient employees – both in the old and new user experience. The network team must be prepared for new traffic patterns and changes in firewall rules. Jobs responsible for lifecycle management of technical requirements across devices and applications, which must be configured or approved in advance, must be set up. Security administrators need to be aware of changes to the registry, whether the security software on the device is supported, new remote data, etc. Only through multifunctional cooperation will a good user experience be guaranteed.
Sharing and tools
So what do we do? I took as a starting point a new version of the operating system, the changes affecting many of us. In principle, we can take all the major technological changes as a starting point where the end user will experience the changes. Regardless of where and how changes are implemented, there are some points that can contribute to success.
- Create awareness of changes: Inform employees of when changes occur, and how they affect day-to-day work. One picture says more than a thousand words. If possible, create a sense of shared ownership in the process. For example, by providing time for changes where their implementation is more convenient for the individual.
- Immediately engage all stakeholders and support functions. In other words: at the time of making the decision about change – to avoid delays and challenges. Document individual learning along the way.
- Verify that the toolbox is ready for the task. Do existing settings and applications work, integrate across applications, does the security and operations team receive and understand the new telemetry, and can it be automated and improved on telemetry so that it can focus on the future rather than the past?
At Palo Alto Networks, we also face challenges as a result of software updates and/or upgrades, as well as challenges that may arise when companies, each with their own technology landscape, integrate into a new shared reality. Therefore, we update employees across the company about future changes, and recommend the use of internal chat channels and support functions. It is an important part of the life cycle and change management processes of a business, where innovation and growth are part of everyday life.
With that said, I wish you good luck implementing new user experiences.
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