2. September 2021

Time is context

What is time? Is it money, free time or work? Does one have it and can one lose it? According to Einstein, it is relative and physicists generally define it as what clocks measure. The annual discussion about summer and winter time regularly makes us ask who sets the clocks and determines which time is the right one.

At deviceTRUST, we define time as a context and can thus ensure that access to digital workstations and individual software applications is time-controlled and that specifications can be met in many ways.

Productive collaboration with external partners

One example of our ease of configuring time-based access is working with external partners. Companies often collaborate with external partners, but this does not always happen smoothly. If, for example, the agreed maintenance time windows are not adhered to, performance bottlenecks can quickly occur that have a negative impact on productivity. It is also not beneficial for companies in terms of data protection if external partners have access to the company’s own IT and work for the competition at the same time.

It would make sense to have a solution that allows you to configure in a few minutes when external employees have access to central IT environments and when they do not. And this is exactly where deviceTRUST can help with just a few clicks. By allowing access to desktops, applications and resources according to the agreed project phases and times, deviceTRUST enables productive and secure work with external partners.

Time is Context

Increased security for work at globally distributed locations

Another example of our time-based access control has to do with the global interdependence of economic relations. As we recently witnessed with the example of the blockade of the Suez Canal by the grounded container ship “Ever Given” and the resulting delivery bottlenecks, the world is more interconnected than ever before. For a variety of reasons, many companies produce abroad and thus offer hackers a kind of cover for their activities. How does a company know if an access from a foreign country comes from one of its employees or if it might not be an attack on the crown jewels?

deviceTRUST offers a variety of options to make life more difficult for hackers. In addition to various (geo) location values, deviceTRUST can, for example, also determine the language of the externally connected keyboard so that, based on this, a decision can be made as to whether access to digital workstations or individual critical applications should be permitted or not.

Or, time can be taken into account. If access from abroad occurs outside defined working hours, it can be assumed that no employee is involved, so that access is denied if the time of access does not correspond to the employee’s (core) working hours.

Time is Context

Home office & ensuring work-life balance.

Another example of controlling access based on time has to do with the current pandemic situation, as Corona has made working from home socially acceptable. Although there is no longer an official obligation to work from home, companies and institutions can voluntarily allow their employees to work from home in order to provide them with the best possible protection against infection.

In order to protect company networks from unauthorized access, deviceTRUST offers a variety of unique options. Among other things, deviceTRUST enables secure working in and from the home office.

However, detached from topics such as safety, compliance and security, this workplace concept, which is still in its infancy in our country, raises the question of employee availability. It’s a great step forward when employees don’t have to commute unnecessarily and can freely arrange their work and working hours at home. However, where there is light, there is also shadow. According to the scientific institute of the AOK, approximately 185,000 people with a total of 4.3 million days of absence were written off sick due to burnout in 2019. Although the Working Hours Act contains detailed regulations on when and how much work may be done, the home office presents new challenges, such as excessive working hours or constant accessibility.

For companies that want to protect their employees – from themselves or from overly demanding superiors – deviceTRUST offers the option of controlling access to a central IT platform on a granular time basis. While work within the company building should still be allowed at 10:00 p.m., for example, access from the home office at the same time can be prevented. This ensures that employees at home no longer receive an e-mail from the boss at a late hour asking them to hand in a matter the following day and consequently turn night into day.

Time is Context

Everything can, nothing must

As these examples have shown, the context-based deviceTRUST software is extremely versatile and unfolds its added value in a wide variety of areas. Learn more about the individual use cases.

Beyond this variety of use cases, our principle is “everything can, nothing must”. This means that you can adapt both the context and the actions based on it completely flexibly to your individual needs. Whether, for example, only one value, such as time, is used or you base the so-called “compliance check” on more than 400 technical data points, is freely selectable. There are also no limitations with regard to the subsequent check. Which action is to be carried out if the antivirus pattern is out of date, the firewall is not activated or the WLAN is not encrypted is up to each individual customer to decide.

It’s about time

Just as Einstein’s new perspective revolutionized the 20th-century view of the world of physics, we have rethought access control to digital workplaces. While purely role-based access concepts were sufficient in the past to meet security, compliance and regulatory requirements, it is now essential to include context in the security equation. Just like all other metadata we can collect and use at session runtime, time can literally work for you here.

by Marc Stieber – Sales Manager DACH