Employee onboarding in the modern workplace

Effectively onboarding new employees can be a challenge, and this challenge is only heightened now that so many of our professional interactions are conducted online. So how do you ensure your employee onboarding meets the demands of the modern workplace? 

Often overlooked or underestimated, employee onboarding is a critical component of your organisation’s security. But all too often it’s an unwieldy, ineffective and insecure process, which only increases your vulnerability to insider threat and external attack.

With the recent rapid growth of the remote workforce, the risks have only increased. Bring your own device (BYOD) policies, shared workspaces, hot-desking and remote onboarding have made the technological challenge even more complex, both from a security and a user experience perspective. Getting it wrong leaves your business open to privacy and security breaches, which can hurt or cripple organisations of any size. In 2021, data breaches are expected to cost $6 trillion globally, with average costs heading towards $10 million.

In the first half of this year alone, the SolarWinds hack cost the company upwards of US$18 million (AU$23.5 million). It was enabled by a compromised identity verification process – in this case, an easy-to-guess employee password (solarwinds123). Similarly, EA Games was the victim of a breach when hackers infiltrated the company’s Slack and posed as an employee to get access to the corporate network.

By making robust identity establishment, verification and authentication the foundation of your employee onboarding process, you close the door on this vulnerability and significantly increase your security posture.

How has COVID impacted employee onboarding?

Onboarding new employees can be a laborious process for IT departments. Hardware has to be issued, software assigned and applications set up. The HR department also needs to go over policies and procedures, roles and expectations. Thanks to COVID-19 and the rapid expansion of the remote workforce, onboarding new team members poses all the existing challenges with the added difficulty of doing it all online. It’s only heightened the fundamental challenge of identity establishment – after all, how can you be sure the person on the other side of the screen is who they say they are?

Take the example of the business that onboarded an employee remotely, for a position that had access to sensitive client data. A few weeks after joining the company the employee stopped showing up to meetings. When the company sent police around to their nominated address to check they were okay, they found out the employee had assumed a false identity and had never lived at that address.

Or the talent specialist who uncovered that the candidate who showed up for the job wasn’t the same person who’d gone through the online recruitment and interview process.

With this breakdown of traditional corporate boundaries, identity has become the new perimeter. Which makes identity your first line of defence against bad actors, and the most effective way to establish and verify this identity is by using biometric credentials.

Security vs user experience – no more trade-off

The use of biometric credentials ensures an identity-defined approach to employee onboarding is a much more user-friendly experience. It removes the hassles of remembering passwords, using multi-factor authentication, messing around with password managers and recovering or reissuing lost access cards.

As with any process, if safety and security come at the expense of a good user experience, user adoption is compromised, which then compromises the effectiveness of the process. Where possible, any systems or technologies that are introduced to improve employee onboarding should utilise existing behaviours – like the creation of a biometric credential using a mobile phone – to put control in the hands of the users.

Putting it all together

Ensuring secure and seamless access to your company assets for teams and users is a necessity. The security, privacy, compliance and user experience requirements of the modern workplace demand it. And this only becomes possible when you know the people getting access to these assets are who they say they are.

Building identity establishment, verification and authentication into systems and infrastructure from the very beginning of the employee onboarding process lays the foundation for secure, effective identity management and access control.

For more information about how Daltrey can help you enhance the security and experience of employee onboarding in your organisation, contact us today