What is hot desking? How to make your hot desks secure?

What is hot desking? How to make your hot desks secure?

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What is hot desking 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.

Hot desking meaning?

What is a hot desk? A real formal hot desk definition doesn’t exist to my knowledge. But it is good to remember that the hot desk concept originally refers to the overall concept of sharing workspace. 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. As a result organizations switched over to hot desking. People use any desk (so a ‘hot 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 or hot desking meaning variants)

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. They use the term hoteling for reservation-based solutions, where the hot desking definition is used for non-reservation flex-office environments. In other situations, hoteling seems more to be used for office space assigned to temporary staff for a certain period of time (weeks, months). Still, there is also a lot of hot desk software (or hot desking software) marketed which is typically aimed at reservation-based flex-office environments. There are also differences per country or organization. In the UK terms like hot desk, hot desking and desk booking are often used. While in the US more people seem to prefer the term hoteling.

What is hot desking security?

The implementation and challenges are however the same, irrespective of whether 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. Logging in is the first action if someone checks in at a hot desk and opens his laptop.

For a telephone that is less common. Still, many hotdesks are equipped with an IP desk telephone. Using a feature like Extension Mobility someone can log into that phone and upload their own contacts, features and settings. It makes people reachable via their business number while benefiting from the superior speech quality of desk phones. Unfortunately, people often don’t log in (since it is cumbersome to enter a username and PIN on a phone keypad) or don’t log out after a session. Both scenarios 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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