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How to Balance Security and Usability

Note: This blog is a continuation of the ideas discussed in a recent IT/AV podcast.

When you are talking technology—regardless of whether it is IT or AV equipment—most people can agree that security and ease of use are two of the most important aspects of a system. Implementing technology into a system that is too locked down for end users to operate will cause numerous calls to the IT department and frustration on the end users’ part. In fact, they may not want to use the technology at all.

Does security take precedence over usability? How do you balance the two to make the technical staff as well as the end users happy?

Conversations need to start in the pre-sales phase. These talks will help all parties involved to review security threats, find out how the products will be used on the network, and how the products will be segmented on the network. Start the conversation at the network level—what are your data security policies? This pre-sales discovery should include everyone involved in the process—the CIO, Director of IT, technical team, purchasing department, and end users. It is important for you to find out what the existing data security policies are and how to work with them from an AV perspective.

Nothing makes an IT department cringe more than edge devices and IoT. However, initial conversations regarding existing network issues and the impact that the equipment will have on the network can help make the overall technology addition easier. There will always be edge devices added to a system—microphones and cameras—so making sure they are secure, yet user-friendly is essential.

When discussing challenges regarding your conference room or classroom, you need to consider a long-term plan that goes beyond solving the problem for the week or month. Choose a solution that will solve their current issues and can grow with the company as their needs change over the next few years. Get your subject matter experts involved in this process as soon as possible. The earlier in a project that you address issues, the easier the installation and implementation will be.

Want to learn more about balancing security with usability? Listen to IT/AV 2: Security Review to find out how connected IoT devices are creating more opportunities for unauthorized system access.

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