The hot desking definition, and how to secure hot desk phones?

The hot desking definition, and how to secure hot desk phones?

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Do we have a clear hot desking definition and how does the hot desk concept relate to Cisco’s Extension Mobility? Since this feature allows someone to use a fixed-line desk phone with its personal number and settings at any desk, the terms Extension Mobility and Hot Desking are often used interchangeably. Time to explore both concepts and how we can optimally combine them.

A hot desking definition?

A real formal hot desking definition doesn’t exist to my knowledge. But it is good to remember that hot desking originally refers to the overall concept of sharing workspace, and not just telephones. Of course the concept of sharing workspace was already common practice in factories (multiple shifts) and other ‘blue-collar’ environments. In an office setting it wasn’t very common until the nineties.

In the nineties, the typical pile of documents on a desk became less common since less information was printed. As a result, the need for a personal desk diminished. Specifically for people like consultants, service employees and sales staff – people who often are on the way – a personal desk seemed just a waste of office space. It meant the introduction of hot desking. People use any desk when they are in and leave it empty when they are out of the office.

The image shows a typical hot desking environment (although there are many hot desking definition variants). No one 'owns' its own personal desk. Instead, someone can take - or pre-schedule - a flexible desk and start working. Typically staff use their own laptop. Dependent on the type of business operations, the hot desk can be equipped with a fixed telephone or use their mobile phones.

In a hot desk or hot desking environment people can use any desk.

Other hot desking definitions and terminology

Yes, sometimes the term hoteling is used. However, there are people who consider both terms to be slightly different. Their hot desking definition is like non-reservation-based hoteling. In other situations, hoteling seems more to be used for office space assigned to temporary staff for a certain period .

The use also depends on the country and company terminology. In the UK terms like hot desk, hot desking and desk booking are often used. While in the US hoteling seems a more frequently used term.

What is hot desking security?

The implementation and challenges are however the same, irrespective if you use the word hotdesk or any other term. How do you make hot desking secure from an information security point of view? For computers that isn’t much of a question. We all use a username and password to protect our personal information. If someone enters a hot desk and opens his laptop, the first thing he does is logging in.

For the telephone that is less common. In many office environments, hotdesking is also supported for the IP telephones. But for the sake of simplicity people either don’t log in (since it is difficult to type username and PIN on a phone keypad) or keep phones logged in, even when they are out. Both scenario’s are not leveraging the benefits of the hot desking concept to its full potential.

Single Sign On for hot desking

With our Active Login Manager software, you have Single Sign On for your hot desk IP telephones. As soon as an employee access a temporary desk and logs into his computer, our software associate his computer account with the desktop telephone. Immediately that telephone is linked to the specific user. It loads the settings of the user and the user can be reached via his personal extension number.

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