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2023 Cybersecurity Predictions: Productivity Monitoring Tools Will Ultimately Backfire

This post is part of our 2023 cybersecurity prediction series.

Dean Hager, Jamf

Dean Hager, CEO of Jamf

At a time when companies are looking to save money, the ‘anywhere work’ model will continue to deliver benefits for leaders who embrace it.

Just because people are coming back to the office, doesn't mean they want to. For people who have worked effectively from home for two years, the argument that they should come back to the office regularly isn’t credible. Organizations that empower remote employees and communicate effectively will continue to see benefits in productivity, meeting efficiency, talent acquisition and retention, and reduced spend on facilities. However, to achieve these benefits, leaders must do more than “allow” anywhere work. They need to lean into it and create remote-friendly environments. Doing so will create greater benefits than simply the business continuity we needed during the pandemic.

The use of creepy productivity monitoring tools will ultimately backfire.

A shift in management style will become necessary as leaders realize they need to lead based on outcomes not observations. Many leaders are resistant to remote work because they are used to leading based on observations, i.e. who is sitting at their desk the longest? In today’s ‘anywhere work’ environment, ‘observation leadership’ is causing managers to implement spy-like tools that measure activity and working hours which invade privacy and create a feeling of distrust among employees. Outcome-based leadership will have a positive effect on employee morale and company culture while developing better managers by forcing each leader to clearly identify the measurable objectives that lead to organizational success.

Nature always finds a way, and so will employees as they seek productivity.

The same leadership philosophy that leads to employee spy-like tools also leads information security teams to lock down technology — in the name of greater security — to the point that it no longer achieves the goal it was deployed to achieve in the first place: to simplify work. IT security policies that render technology unusable will ultimately make organizations less secure. After all, employees simply will not tolerate delivering less than their best. As such, if IT and Info Sec teams do not provide a path to productivity, employees will find one — most often by using their unsecured personal computing devices. This reality will lead to security policies that preserve consumer-like user experiences, promote employee device choice programs, and embrace and rethink BYOD. As money becomes tighter over the next year, BYOD programs that make sense will be pursued, because the alternatives: carrying two phones and work apps being accessed on unprotected personal phones are both problematic. Unless organizations present a compelling solution, such as partitioning a personal device to keep personal private and work protected, people will find a way to be productive with or without IT approval. IT and Security teams will need to work together on implementing new technology that empowers productivity, protects privacy and fades into the background.

Education will have an awakening that technology can help students beyond remote learning.

Historically, some teachers viewed technology as disruptive in the classroom. During the pandemic, technology was needed to keep classes in session. As it turns out, the need to deploy technology that supports distance learning has had impact that will change the classroom forever. Many technology-resisting teachers now realize that technology doesn’t disrupt the classroom. If deployed effectively, it enhances both teaching and learning. Giving students tablets that are enrolled in a learning solution enables active and personalized learning without needing to wait for 1:1 time with a teacher. Governments in many countries across the world are now supporting the rollout of technology in schools to create education equity and help teachers scale.



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