The Business of Modern Security

By Ricardo Johnson, Chief Information Security Officer, Citrix

New work models require a new approach to protecting apps, data and devices that puts people first

Work isn’t like it used to be. In the past, employees would come to the office every day and work from company-managed assets. Today, they may work at home, in the office, on the road and anywhere in between using unsecured personal devices and networks.

The freedom and flexibility that the new models driving work afford are fueling improvements in employee engagement, productivity and wellbeing. But they have also opened a whole new set of challenges that IT needs to manage. And to be successful, they’ll need to rethink security and modernize their approach.

Security is a Business.

Few functions have greater impact on business performance than security. Without secure and reliable systems, sales can’t sell. Development can’t develop. Accounting can’t account. Marketing can’t market. Human Resources can’t hire. Security is a business. And it needs to be run like one, which means quantifying risks in terms of dollars and communicating with business stakeholders to determine where to focus limited resources.

And it’s Personal.

Whoever said, “It’s business, don’t take it personally,” never worked in security. Employees today expect to be able to work when, where and how they want using the applications and devices of their choice, and IT needs to empower them to do so in a secure and reliable way without getting in their way.

Securing the Future of Work

It’s a delicate balance. And to strike it, IT needs to think in a radically different way.

Networks used to be viewed as castles with a single entrance that you could build a moat around to protect. But in the world of distributed work, securing a more modern approach is required – one based on a zero trust network access (ZTNA) model that not only authenticates user access based on the context of the moment (who they are, what they have access to, what device or network they’re on) but also constantly monitors user, application, and network behavior and dynamically applies security policies to ensure that corporate information and apps remain secure no matter where work is happening.

Protecting Your Rock Stars

Think of it like a nightclub. You need a bouncer at the front door to ensure employees are on the list and authorized to access the app and work resources they need to get work done. Once inside, you need a bodyguard to monitor their behavior and environment, detect risks, and step in to apply additional levels of security or controls as necessary.

With the right solutions, IT can push enforcement to the edge and incorporate zero-trust principles along with centralized policy management to modernize their posture and keep corporate information and devices safe.

And they’re out there. Cloud-delivered ZTNA solutions, for instance, provide contextual access to IT-sanctioned applications whether they are deployed on-prem, or in the cloud and delivers security controls for managed, unmanaged and BYO devices. And IT can use them to, among other things:

  • Provide zero trust network access to all apps, with adaptive authentication to continually evaluate access based on end user roles, locations, device posture, and user risk profiles.
  • Securely support distributed work and BYO programs without risking exposure to malicious content and web-borne threats.
  • Simplify IT while enhancing the digital workspace experience for users.

Modernizing Security

They can also enact a fresh approach to security that accommodates the realities of work today by giving employees the flexibility to work where they want using the devices of their choice, while ensuring that corporate data and assets remain safe. And many already are.

Take HDI Global. With a rapidly growing work-from-home staff in Brazil, the international insurance company had a choice to make: increase investments in traditional servers and virtual machines, or enact a more modern approach to securely delivering apps. It chose the latter and implemented secure access solutions.

Delivering Results

The move to hybrid work is on – and picking up speed. And the winners in the race will be those organizations that can deliver a consistent, secure, and simplified work experience across every work channel, any device, and any work location to give every employee the space they need to succeed.

With the right mindset, approach and solutions, IT can drive this and rather than frustrating employees, liberate them by creating a unified, secure and reliable environment that empowers them to do their best work.

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