Q&A: Protecting the device is as critical as securing the data inside

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As the bulk of the federal workforce moved out of the office to remote spaces last year, their devices went with them. Cybersecurity was an immediate concern for IT staff, but physical security also became an issue. A lost or stolen device can pose a risk to a network if the thief or discoverer finds a way to unlock it. FedTech The magazine spoke with Matt Hendrix, Federal Business Development Manager for Kensington, about the increased need for physical device security.

FEDTECH: How has the need for device and data protection evolved since the pandemic began?

HENDRIX: At first there was a scramble to get devices. Agencies were getting everything they could to migrate to a remote workforce as quickly as possible. Now we are seeing more normalization, with a hybrid work scenario, as staff move to modified work environments. We are seeing a further increase in demand for security solutions, such as locks and privacy screens, as well as keyboards, mice and other accessories. Hospitality is also driving demand for more ancillary products, such as docking stations, as people move from place to place with their mobile devices.

FEDTECH: How have agencies adapted security procedures to cover the increase in remote working?

HENDRIX: IT admins are looking for solutions that allow them to support a remote workforce. Previously, it was easy for an administrator to physically unlock a device in the office if a key was lost. Now with the workforce potentially anywhere the physical interaction isn’t there so we’re seeing more combination locks with master codes deployed, and more use of the Kensington Register and Retrieve program which allows locks and codes to be administered by computer from a remote station.

DISCOVER: Find out how Kensington can help secure your agency devices.

FEDTECH: How do agencies manage the security of devices moving back and forth between remote workplaces and the office?

HENDRIX: Physical device security increases as workers are both remote and in the office. With more mobile devices than ever, the need to lock them down and physically secure them in the workplace, or when working remotely, is more important than ever.

FEDTECH: What is the most vulnerable part of the connection between a device and the agency network, and how can it be protected?

HENDRIX: A point of vulnerability is knowing who connects to the agency network. As agencies turn to hospitality and co-working spaces, IT admins want to look beyond the docking station to see what devices are brought into the space and connect to the network. Kensington’s proprietary DockWorks software allows the client device’s MAC address to pass through the docking station and prioritizes the LAN connection over Wi-Fi for added security.

FEDTECH: What tools does a federal IT team need to ensure their agency’s devices and data stay secure, regardless of location?

HENDRIX: Kensington offers a full range of physical security products to ensure branch devices are protected. Whether protecting Microsoft Surface Pro devices with BlackBelt CAC compatible rugged cases and key or combination locking solutions, or using our unique locking designs that work with existing devices as well as new deployments, Kensington’s universal 3-1 locking solution helps agencies future-proof their physical security program.

DIVE DEEPER: Secure conferencing tools when linked to external devices.

FEDTECH: Hybrid work situations present unique challenges. What solutions do you offer?

HENDRIX: Among the many things the pandemic has highlighted for us is the importance of mobility. While some groups were already working towards hybrid work situations, many IT managers had to mobilize entire teams immediately. Kensington offers solutions that enable universal flexibility for connectivity to ensure staff stay productive both in the office and while working from home or remotely.

Gartner showed that 81% of organizations support more than one laptop brand, creating a significant challenge for IT managers trying to accommodate shared workspaces with hosting and desktop scenarios share. Kensington docking stations enable universal connectivity from OEM brands while providing security for the administrator to see who is connecting to the network. Imagine the worker with a Dell laptop who connects his device in a cubicle to two monitors, a mouse and a keyboard – and the next day another worker uses the same space with his MacBook. Kensington solutions can help both employees connect and be productive in the same space.

Our physical locking solutions ensure that assets such as desktop monitors and docking stations stay in place so the next person using the desk has the tools they need to connect and stay productive. We also offer port blockers to secure USB ports when multiple employees are accessing a shared workstation, so that access can be controlled and limits are placed on how information can be deleted from a device. .

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