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Facilitating seamless frontline worker collaboration with identity management

May 09, 20234 mins
RSA Security

Frontline workers require seamless, automated access to the right business tools and technologies in order to do their jobs effectively and collaborate with the larger organization.

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Credit: iStock/Goodboy Picture Company

By Microsoft Security

Across the global workforce, frontline workers account for 80% of most organizations, taking a pivotal role in providing essential services to the general public. However, despite their critical nature, frontline workers are often not equipped with the technology tools and resources they need for success.

A recent Microsoft survey revealed that technology is currently the third-most important factor employees say could help reduce their workplace stress, and 63% of frontline workers are excited about the job opportunities that technology creates. Companies are also aligned with modernization efforts. Nearly three-quarters (74%) of business leaders say that automating manual processes with technology has improved workplace efficiencies.

However, this technology must be secure in order to be effective. Identity and access management (IAM) is a serious concern for frontline workers given that many are required to work outside of their homes, oftentimes in non-office settings. Frontline workers require seamless, automated access to the right business tools and technologies in order to do their jobs effectively and collaborate with the larger organization. Read on to learn how you can leverage IAM to improve frontline worker experiences.

What challenges do frontline workers currently face?

During the pandemic, frontline workers across the globe showed up to work every day to keep our economy moving. The pandemic also accelerated digital transformation efforts across many industries thanks to increased demand. Consider the manufacturing sector, for example, which rapidly modernized with smart factories, the convergence of Operational Technology (OT) and Internet-of-Things (IoT), and increased automation.

As new technologies and processes advance, however, frontline workers often feel as though they are being left behind. Management challenges, high worker turnover, and a desire to minimize business disruptions can often slow the rollout of new and emerging technologies to frontline workers. As a result, one out of three frontline workers feel they do not have the right technological tools to do their job effectively. This can create a dangerous disconnect between frontline workers and the broader organization.

Frontline workers need frictionless access to the right line of business applications and company resources needed to do their jobs. Furthermore, this access must be supported by built-in security protections that can safeguard not only the frontline worker, but also sensitive business and customer data. IAM is one such security protection that companies can leverage.

4 tips to improve frontline worker experiences

Employees need a reliable and secure way to access company resources whether they’re working on-site or remotely. This is especially true of frontline workers, who may be traveling between different locations or working from a variety devices. According to Microsoft internal data, 36% of IT executives allow frontline workers to use a personal device for work-related tasks, while roughly 59% of frontline workers with assigned devices share them between coworkers in some capacity.

Additionally, as companies adopt new technologies that spread across multiple devices and networks, they need to control user access. A well-automated IAM process can help ensure sensitive data and functions are restricted to only the properly authorized people and processes.

However, access control cannot come at the expense of employee productivity. IAM friction can result in lost profits, poor customer experience, and even encourage the proliferation of shadow IT. Reducing that friction enables frontline workers to onboard and quickly access the productivity apps and tools they need.

In addition to implementing seamless IAM policies, below are four tips for improving frontline worker experiences.


  1. Enhance communication and collaboration: Connect frontline workers with the right people, tools, and knowledge to get their job done.
  2. Transform employee experiences: Empower frontline workers to build new skills and engage in an inclusive company environment.
  3. Increase frontline operational efficiency: Automate processes with connected digital workflows, creating a unified platform for your workforce.
  4. Safeguard your business: Secure your business with built-in security and compliance across identities, email, apps, and endpoints.

Ready to learn more about the latest innovations in IAM and cybersecurity? Visit us at Microsoft Security Insider and check out the full webinar on “Facilitating Your Frontline Worker Collaboration with Identity Management.”