Are we making ourselves more vulnerable to cyber-attacks in the workplace?

Leveraging technology to boost productivity
Brendan McAravey, Country Manager at Citrix South Africa
Are we making ourselves more vulnerable to cyber-attacks in the workplace?
Brendan McAravey, Country Manager at Citrix South Africa

Although some organisations still feel that by digitising their businesses, they will be exposing themselves to cyber threats, on the contrary, one of the biggest benefits that forward-thinking organisations are reaping from their digital transformation initiatives, is security.

Globally, most companies are forging ahead with their digital transformation initiatives, market analyst firm IDC predicts that by 2020, at least 55% of organisations will be digitally determined, transforming markets and reimagining the future through new business models and digitally enabled products and services.

However, as more technologies are being embraced by organisations to open up new sales channels, find new markets and opportunities, increase revenues, and improve efficiency, it can also open up security vulnerabilities that can negatively impact the business, employees or customers.

With hackers becoming savvier, businesses need to realise that on-premise systems are far more susceptible to malware and botnets attacks, making it that much easier to steal sensitive information. The loss of sensitive data and other forms of enterprise information, such as intellectual property, can lead to significant financial losses and reputation damage for an organisation.

Not only are on-premise systems more expensive, but the investment that they spend towards the maintenance is exorbitant as well. On the other hand, cloud computing is much more cost-effective, and when it comes to security, the responsibility is in the hands of the vendor rather than the organisation and they are rigorous with their security practices.

Experience has taught us that businesses locally do resist giving up control, but with changing times, there needs to be a shift in the mind-set of CIOs and CTOs. However, with all the security concerns that digital transformation can expose organisations to, the dilemma that many of them face is whether to risk it and deploy digital or maintain the status quo.

With phrases like, ‘if your business is not digitally transforming, you will be left behind your competition’ becoming the norm, organisations are jumping on this bandwagon, but how many of them are actually spending time to put a proper strategy in place?

According to the 2018 IPSOS research commissioned by Citrix in South Africa, while most organisations (85%) agreed that their industry would operate differently in future, they also cited security as a major concern. Additionally, the study found that businesses realise that they face the “adopt or die” imperative as 92% agree that businesses will be forced to be more agile and adapt more quickly.

The danger of approaching digital transformation without a proper strategy in place is that, businesses may just end up making themselves more vulnerable or invest in technology that is not suited for their specific needs. At Citrix, we espouse a security approach that enables customers to proactively protect information, manage risk, and achieve compliance. We have worked with companies in South Africa and globally, guiding them on their digital transformation journeys to create a more flexible and secure environment.

To avoid getting caught up by security issues, organisations should consider people-centric security approach that combines users, devices, locations, access rights and expected behaviours to unify and enrich the end user experience. It has become critical to provide users with a secure solution that optimises productivity, delivers the best security to meet compliance standards and provides the highest level of security to prevent users from losing or compromising critical data.

By Brendan McAravey, Country Manager at Citrix South Africa