By Brendan McAravey, Country Manager at Citrix South Africa
There are two things we have been hearing a lot about in 2018: security and usability.
The launch of the iPhone about 10 years ago helped start a revolution in how we access data. It not only set a new standard in mobile phone technology, but it brought a wave of new applications to end-users of all ages (not just Millennials!).
Due to the explosion of smart phones - over 25 million in SA by 2022 (Google 2017 Connected Consumer Survey) - now we also have an explosion of mobile apps, resulting in a wealth of innovation in application development and the way everyone uses computing devices.
Further, the agility in the cloud has led to much shorter app release cycles and more frequent updates, which has pushed the learning curve even further. There is simply no time to learn how to use an app.
That said, we are now seeing an increasingly more complex IT landscape where investments in security are going through the roof as the number of attacks and data breaches increase significantly.
Is your data secure?
These days, hackers use advanced machine learning algorithms, IoT devices and the likes to attack any computing device and any level of the stack, including at the CPU level. And if you still believe that none of your data has been hacked, check out http://haveibeenpowned.com and don’t be surprised. These challenges have driven explosive growth in security spending with significantly stricter controls over any end-point.
It’s clear the bad guys are getting smarter and smarter. For example, sub-Saharan Africa has the third highest reports of cyber fraud of any region in the world. These stats were highlighted in theGlobal Fraud Report and the report states that these incidents are still on the rise.
There is a perceived seesaw relationship between security and usability; if security measures are increased, many feel usability typically goes down and vice versa. I believe that there is a way to break this seesaw, using technologies such as virtualisation, advanced networking, and file sharing.
Creating a safer workspace
At Citrix, with our own employees, when we hand out corporate laptops, we see an average of 261 security alerts per end-point per quarter. If instead we give the end-user a virtual desktop with persistence (each employee gets his or her own desktop), this drops to 51 security alerts per quarter. However, with a non-persistent virtual desktop (each desktop is shared among multiple employees) we see a jaw-dropping decline to 2 security alerts per quarter.
At the same time, usability goes up since end users don’t have to upgrade or patch their system, and they can pick up any device of their choice and instantly connect to their workspace with the best possible experience as the workspace adapts to their network connection, device, and peripherals.
Data needs to be safe!
Security is becoming increasingly important, as the number of attacks grows exponentially and becomes more sophisticated at all levels of the stack. It will be a Cold War-like arms race where machine learning algorithms fight machine learning algorithms.