Reimagining Digital Kiosk Security

The digital age is truly an exciting time. Technology is altering the way we work, our interactions and even our experiences. In today’s world, where competition is fierce, the edge that such technologies bring is far from trivial. To provide a seamless experience and keep up with the ever-increasing customer expectations, the world witnessed the rise of digital kiosks. Whether an informational kiosk, self-service kiosk or digital signage, kiosk devices have transitioned almost every industry.   

The size of the worldwide kiosk market was evaluated at USD 28.34 billion in 2021 and is expected to increase at a CAGR of 6.9% from 2022 to 2028. A kiosk’s practicality and ease of use have significantly boosted its use cases. As such, they have spread across all verticals; from airports to grocery stores to restaurants and hotels, kiosks are everywhere. However, managing and securing hundreds or thousands of corporate kiosks takes a heavy toll on your IT team. This article will focus on how unified endpoint management (UEM) solutions assist in reimagining your kiosk network.  

Getting Started  

In essence, there are two aspects to deploying a successful kiosk network – security and management. Of course, a simple kiosk management solution may be able to handle the management side but using a dedicated UEM solution provides much finer access to your devices while augmenting your security posture.   

A Centralized Console to Manage a Fractured Network  

It takes time to equip a kiosk deployed across numerous locations. Imagine trying to handle a variety of kiosk devices, including interactive kiosks and digital signages running on multiple operating systems, such as Android, iOS, and Windows. The management variance that each OS and device type represent is a significant dilemma for IT administrators. Fortunately, whenever a digital kiosk faces trouble, IT managers need not be physically present to troubleshoot them. Most UEM solutions have kiosk management functionalities that let IT administrators remotely control managed devices and address the errors without making numerous site trips, saving time and effort. In addition, IT administrators can virtually reflect the device’s screen on their dashboard using a UEM solution’s comprehensive remote view and control capabilities. The feature enables them to visually resolve issues more quickly. The loss of clients due to prolonged downtime can be avoided with this approach.  

Another notable concern most business owners have when deploying a kiosk network is managing the content and applications running on them. For kiosks to provide customers with a seamless and enhanced experience, they should be customized to serve the intended purpose. Hence, constantly pushing relevant content and applications becomes a priority. Unfortunately, due to the scattered locations of digital kiosks, IT administrators must rush from one site to the next to manually set up each kiosk and upload fresh content. UEM solutions help to deploy, manage and remove apps from the Apple App Store, Google Play Store, Windows App Store or even any enterprise apps or in-house apps to any of the managed devices. Additionally, for your digital signage, you may also transmit documents, movies, and presentations in various formats.  

Reinforcing the Security Architecture  

As the security concerns surrounding kiosks increase and they become victims of cyberattacks, the built-in security posture of a locked device raises questions. Every cybersecurity professional, IT admin, CISO and business owner unanimously agree that safeguarding corporate data is a prime concern. Since the whole idea behind a kiosk is to deploy mostly unattended devices, strict security policies must be put in place to strengthen the cybersecurity architecture. A UEM solution allows IT admins to configure various security policies to lock down and secure these remote devices.  

Disabling the device’s gestures and controls on the device level allows admins to lock the device remotely. Setting up firewalls and VPNs and filtering out malicious websites helps secure the network side of security. Finally, password policies that enforce strict rules on setting robust passwords and the capability to lock or even wipe the device ensure that the data within remains safe. These security guidelines add multiple layers to render a complete security posture.  

Since most kiosks are deployed independently and left physically unsupervised, customers might misuse them or accidentally change the device configurations. Locking down the navigation and other access capabilities of these devices ensures they are used as intended.  

The Bottom Line  

As customer expectations rise, businesses must take action to stay on top of the game. Kiosks open the door to increased consumer satisfaction and improved employee efficiency. On top of the management and security aspects of using a UEM solution, all the devices locked into single-app or multi-app kiosks or digital signages can be reconfigured and reused. This potential for reconfiguration makes investment in UEM-enrolled kiosk devices the safest option. Furthermore, the ability to be used for other business operations makes deploying a kiosk network a must-try business strategy.

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Apu Pavithran

Apu Pavithran is the founder and CEO of Hexnode. Recognized in the IT management community as a consultant, speaker and thought leader, Apu has been a strong advocate for IT governance and Information security management. He’s passionate about entrepreneurship and spends significant time working with startups and empowering young entrepreneurs.

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