The rise in kiosk adoption across industries like retail, healthcare and restaurants poses several significant challenges if not addressed with a clear security strategy, according to Apu Pavithran, CEO and founder of Unified Device Management solution provider, Hexnode.
“The dawn of kiosk devices was propelled by the need for businesses to gain an edge over their competitors. Kiosks serve as a standalone feature, and from a business standpoint, many agree that the isolated nature of these devices poses a question of whether to enroll new devices or customise the existing ones,” he said.
“In either case, IT admins would have to hustle from one location to another to provision or update these devices. An even bigger challenge is when a requirement for troubleshooting arises. Therefore, with a vast and diverse kiosk network, security and device safety challenges should be expected, resulting in an IT overload.”
Kiosk devices are designed to provide independent interfaces for customers to enhance the service and experience and reduce the manual strain on employees; however, this means the device’s security is often left compromised.
“With kiosks being placed in areas even with high footfall, chances of the machine being vandalised and attacked with suspicious websites or malware must be anticipated. In turn, kiosk devices are some of the most targeted gateways for cyberattacks, owing to their inherently low cybersecurity,” Pavithran said.
Best practice for UEM solutions
Using the capabilities of a unified endpoint management (UEM) solution makes provisioning new devices, customising existing devices and troubleshooting them a breeze.
“Admins have granular access to personalise the devices according to their use cases and push out any application or content from the office or home. Admins can also take advantage of the remote view and access features to identify and solve any issues that pop up, irrespective of the endpoint’s location,” Pavithran said.
“The granular access UEMs offer allows admins to lock down any peripheral settings, including software and hardware keys. It gives the admin team the power to control the console, and once a device is in kiosk lockdown mode, access is only given selectively to those that seem necessary. These restrictions also prevent any unwanted tampering of the endpoints and further improve the kiosk network’s security posture.”
The geofencing feature provides an additional layer of security with alerts sent when the device leaves a designated location or gets stolen. During such instances, admins could wipe the device to protect corporate data.
“Using a UEM to lock down standard endpoints instead of purchasing kiosk devices would allow you to repurpose those devices in case your kiosk strategy doesn’t pan out. A UEM solution offers a set of security features and tools to combat the challenges of a kiosk network. Hexnode’s UEM, with its kiosk management capabilities, allows admins to provision any device into kiosks remotely.”
Dealing with a massive number of digital tools and consoles globally with millions of connected devices can be overwhelming, which is where the right UEM strategy comes into play.
“Through a centralised console, UEMs enable IT admins to manage every endpoint from a single location. In addition, the central console provides complete visibility of the endpoint’s condition and creates reports based on each device’s compliance and policy data. More endpoint data can help IT administrators find ways to reduce expenses, boost performance, enhance security, and provide other financial advantages,” Pavithran said.
Endpoint solution versus single-layer configuration
One of the first things when considering a secure endpoint solution is multi-OS support, according to Pavithran.
“A retail store might contain a diverse array of endpoints running on different operating systems. While some UEMs exclusively focus on a single OS, UEMs like Hexnode can provision any operating system. Another aspect of endpoint security is that security doesn’t end with managing all mobile devices and PCs. IoT-enabled devices are widespread in many retail stores from smart thermometers to barcode scanners and sensors,” he said.
“While choosing a security solution, assess the device diversity and what the solution supports. Customer support is an essential part of choosing a vendor. First-time users of UEMs, or any security solution for that matter, would find it daunting initially. Therefore, a reliable support team is a game-changer.”