A surge in demand for laptops, driven by the increased need for organizations to support remote working, is occurring just as the laptop manufacturing supply chain has a reduced capacity to deliver. As a result, many organizations are experiencing lengthy delays in laptop procurement, jeopardizing their short-term business continuity planning.
For many, relaxing security controls and increasing access to corporate services from employee-owned devices introduces unpalatable risks. There are already multiple examples of cyber criminals both increasing and tailoring their activity to target the growing population of remote workers. Coping with a major cyber incident at the same time as a pandemic is beyond the means of most organizations.
As the UK Government mobilises to reduce the impact to the UK and its citizens of the COVID-19 pandemic, much of today’s focus quite rightly is on expert advice. However, Government experts have for some time been evaluating approaches that can provide safer options for scaling remote working than a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) model. These approaches may provide timely alternatives to procuring new laptops for organisations struggling to meet their current cost or availability needs.
A project led by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) referred to as CloudClient, looked to develop an End User Device platform that could be deployed on a range of computing devices, with built-in security that would allow organisations to share infrastructure and services without increasing risk. The programme produced a light-weight operating system (OS), now available as a commercial product that organisations within the public and private sectors have subsequently used, either to transform legacy IT that can no longer support a full desktop OS, or deploy a bootable USB stick to allow a home PC to be transformed into a secure working environment.