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Home office in Germany – Sure! But secure!

Gross-Bieberau, March 18th, 2020
by Thomas W. Barth, Director Consulting Services at APIIDA AG

In many countries around the globe working from home is commonplace. More than 20 years ago the State of California already promoted to work in the home office, at that time with an ecological motivation: “If everybody works from home one day a week, traffic will be reduced by 20%!”

Germany = Developing country

In regard to this way of working Germany is still a developing country. A study by the Institute of Labor Market and Vocational Research (IAB) and the Leibnitz Center for European Economic Research (ZEW) says, that only about 26% of the german companies offer the opportunity to work remote to their employees. In larger organizations and companies, which are more internationalised and reached a higher level of digitalization, a major part up to 39% has the permission to work from home. But these options are not really used yet. In fact just around 12% of these employees work remote, 16% at least one day a week. Our conclusion: A lot more can be done!

What are the reasons?
• The German society still thinks it’s necessary to be physically present to get things done, to make important decisions or that your work “is seen”. They believe it can’t be done remote – mostly both sides, employers and employees.
• Working efficiently in the home office needs practice, because it needs a different attitude and a lot of self discipline.
• And last but not least, it can be a big IT security risk if employees work from home and login to the company network, because it can’t be controlled.

A virus, of all things!

After years of waiting, a virus of all things now compels us to rethink our attitude and to improve. Previous work habits need to be changed abruptly. This rethinking also belittles all former resentments. But we should not be too hasty: security must be top priority! First of all, secure authentication is essential. The minimum standard should be a 2-factor-authentication (2FA). If this is ensured, you can address other vulnerabilities. An intuitive solution, which above all can be integrated quickly and convinces with an excellent "User Experience (UX)", also helps to increase user acceptance after Corona and to take a new look at the attitude towards the home office. The home office is attractive for employers if the necessary security is in place. And Employees increasingly see their advantages, e.g. the gain in flexibility, the compatibility of their work and their family life. Even if, as in the current situation, regular, personal exchange with the colleagues is not possible - nowadays video conferences or chats can replace the conversation at the coffee machine.

Simple solutions that can be rolled-out quickly are needed!

We're here to help you secure your home office workplace.

APIIDA Mobile Authentication, for example, allows you to login without a password, similar to a smart card, and it offers a few more security features, like email certificates to encrypt emails or to sign it digitally. Furthermore, support for the FIDO2 standard allows secure login to cloud services. In combination with our APIIDA Intelligent SSO (Single Sign-On) you can significantly expand the range of cloud services and create passwordless workplaces at the same time.

Our solutions help to enable working from home with a highly secure workplace - fast, easy and uncomplicated.

APIIDA Mobile Authentication and APIIDA Intelligent SSO are innovative solutions by APIIDA.

The product One Identity Defender of our partner One Identity, works in a similar way. Defender is an established tool for the 2- or multi-factor-authentication, which is based on the standards OATH, RADIUS, LDAP, PAM, etc. and secures the access to the network resources while using one-time-passwords (OTP). Different soft token variants (e.g., Android, IOS, Blackberry, Java, Windows), as well as hardware tokens (e.g., One-Span, Yubikey), can be used too. The administration works via the existing Active Directory infrastructure.

Another option for a 2FA-secured access offers One Identity with their product One Identity Starling, a SaaS-based OTP solution, especially in combination with the market-leading identity management solution One Identity Manager, it affords an added value.

One Identity, as a part of Quest Software, is one of the leading manufacturers of solutions regarding "Identity Governance and Administration." They were named by Gardner as a leader in the Magic Quadrant in 2019.

All of the mentioned solutions can be combined to increase the access security and realize an optimized passwordless workplace.

No more excuses!

The virus forces us to overcome our reservations about working from home. Companies across Germany have the opportunity to react quickly and benefit from the courage right now. We should stick together and take chances!


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