Relieve your IT from headache. Work from home environment is now more affordable, easier, and safer!
(translated from Japanese interview)
You may think you need a lot of time and money to prepare a remote working environment, including implementing device management tools, assessing security products, and renewing distributed PCs, but a completely different solution has been proposed by a company to face this issue. We interviewed them to find out what kind of technology they are using and how they are using it.
COVID-19 was a particularly big challenge for small and midsize companies. Even if they were able to prepare suitable PCs for their employees to telework, they were faced with a host of issues such as VPN network, work management, data breaching, and hardware protection.
Such measures include, securing thin-client notebook PCs and cloud storage for all employees, implementing mobile device management tools, surveilling application use for fraud and prohibiting access to confidential data from cafes and other locations, and preparing VDI licenses for the number of employees. This takes too much time and budget for IT teams of small and midsize companies. With insufficient workforce to implement such measures, they are often referred to as “Abandoned IT employees”.
Blockchain Professionals introduce new Remote network setup for “Abandoned IT employees”
One company developing blockchain solutions has introduced a new solution to resolve this issue.
Takashi Hagiwara, director and head of software development at Jasmy says, “Employees should bring their computers to local network, and at the same time be able to use them comfortably. However, when working remotely, anti-virus policies are often strengthened, OS data encryption functions are used, and saving files are prohibited. This is inconvenient.”
Jasmy was founded in 2016. The company is collaborating with various companies on research and technology development, including developing its own secure IoT platform with its edge of blockchain technology, and already has a number of achievements in device management.
What is Jasmy Secure PC?
Jasmy Secure PC is a solution that Jasmy developed by applying their tech edge for computer security measures and employee performance management for working at home. Let’s take a view of its functions (Figure 1).
Jasmy Secure PC is a device management tool that is used by installing an administrative program called “agent” on an employee’s PC. The administrator can check the user’s attendance and application operation records using the administrator application screen.
Log data such as operation records are collected to a server on the platform operated by Jasmy, eliminating the need to purchase any server equipment (see note). Visualization of various log data is organized on Jasmy’s servers, so the administrator can check the data on the administrator account without any preparation (Figure 2).
（note）User log is anonymized using hash and etc., then it is written to consortium blockchain. In any case, data is stored securely regardless of user’s awareness.
The admin screen provides a visible overview of PC logs such as keyboard and mouse movements, connection status, mounted drive information, and USB device connection status. It is also possible to check whether computers are updated to their latest Windows version.
The user’s attendance is also visualized. Upcoming updates will make it possible to organize user into groups. By this, for example, users can be categorized according to their work hours or their duties to see the balance of workload and identify bottlenecks that causes employees to work long hours. Status such as “away from work” and “coffee break” can be automatically identified by setting certain thresholds.
These PC monitoring and OS update management functions are attractive, but what makes Jasmy Secure PC even more appealing to the “Abandoned IT employees” is the feature Jasmy Secure PC agent not only collects and transmits log data, but also has an encrypted, access-controlled area in the PC’s local network.
As Mr. Hagiwara mentioned above, work from home policies often restrict employees from storing files to their PCs as part of their data breach prevention measures, but with Jasmy Secure PC, employees have a secure and controlled store area zone on their PCs.
This system is a lifesaver for companies with “Abandoned IT employees,” who lack the time and cost to develop an environment that allows them to access file servers via VPN or to contract for new cloud storage.
3 attractive features of Jasmy Secure PC
Let’s zoom in to the three features of Jasmy Secure PC.
Firstly, they use blockchain technology to collect log data and store it in a form that cannot be manipulated. In occurrence of an issue, the logs can be examined to confirm exactly what happened. Jasmy calls this the “driving recorder”.
“The reason we call it a ‘drive recorder’ is because Jasmy Secure PC not only records the PC’s movements, but also sends the correct data to the server and uses blockchain to protect the correctness of the data on the server. In a teleworking environment when your boss is out of sight, employees can prove their attendance and managers to keep track of their employees’ activities. We are aiming for a system that is safe and secure for both parties,” says Hagiwara.
Secondly, they protect data through “ghost drives”. This is a business drive automatically created when the Jasmy Secure PC agent is installed on a PC. The data is blockchain encrypted and access is controlled by the Jasmy Secure PC agent. The agent can set conditions such as “only allow access when connected to a specific network name (SSID) registered in advance” or “specify the days and times when access is allowed”. If the conditions are not met, even the owner of the computer cannot see the data. If the data is stored in this ghost drive, it can be operated in the local network so there is no need to force applications to be placed on a server that are difficult to operate without a local network.
“The system will control access to data when the PC is in an unregistered network, such as public Wi-Fi, reducing the risk of information leaks,” says Hagiwara. If access is controlled by time, access outside of business hours can be rejected as unauthorized.
Thirdly, managers can send commands to the employee’s computer. The manager can remotely manipulate computer such as “lock screen”, “turn USB storage connections on and off”, and “allow access to ghost drives”.
“Under requirements to control your devices and prevent data breach in a work from home environment, Jasmy Secure PC can provide you these functions simply by implementing them. The strength of Jasmy Secure PC is that it can be operated simply without adding any special driver software or change computer settings,” says Hagiwara.
GOOD DEAL ￥7,000/month for 10users + admin
Fees and their structure are also attractive to small and midsize companies. “Agent DR” version is offered for free, and the “Agent PRO” version is offered 440 yen monthly per unit (including tax). Subscription for Agent PRO is required to use manager features.
In addition to the basic functions of Agent DR, Agent PRO offers detailed view of application work history, file access history, and IP address-based Web browsing restriction functions. If this system is deployed for a single administrator and 10 employees (one manager license and 10 terminals), they would be affordable for approximately 7,000 yen montly.
Another advantage of this system is that employees can use their current Windows computers without replacing them, and the system can be distributed remotely using provided tools. Since the system requires only a simple setup, there is no need for IT staff to set up each PC in the office one by one. This easiness of setup and operation will be a great benefit for “Abandoned IT employees”.
Visualizing attendance is useful for work from home care
Jasmy Secure PC already has been implemented for remote working during COVID pandemic. According to customer’s feedback, not only the security or computer management, but also administrating employee’s attendance were the key reasons for purchasing.
“The first prototype of Jasmy Secure PC was used in a call center to support their employees working remotely. They already had a sophisticated system, but were optimized for office work, and so did they face difficulties during the pandemic,” said Hagiwara.
It is not difficult to imagine that if call center operations were to be conducted from home, it would be crucial to prevent breaching and fraud since they have access to customer information. Although at the same time, obtaining information useful for employee care was also concerned.
“When your boss is sitting near you, he or she can literally keep track of your availability and take care of any problems or workloads as needed. However, when you are working from home, your attendance, how you are working is invisible in the first place. By using our package, your boss can see if you are doing well, can keep track of your workload or any unusual behavior, and pay attention to your progress and efficiency,” says Hagiwara.
You can experiment Jasmy Secure PC without any cost by Agent DR version. If you are facing cost issues or struggling to keep track of employee for setting up remote environment, why not try this out first to see how it goes?
Also, the subscription version Agent PRO is currently being offered at a trial price for “at least one year” if you start using them by July 31, 2022. Take this opportunity to try it out!