F5 predicts: Social Adoption opens up security risks

Kicking off the ‘F5 predictions’ series is a topic that is proving difficult for businesses to ignore: the avalanche of social technologies coming into the enterprise.

Many companies understand the value technology brings, such as increased productivity, a more efficient workplace and better collaboration between colleagues and departments, greater brand experience between customers and companies.

Many companies are also witnessing an evolving market. Notably, the demand from Generation Y and Z is or a more socialized work environment. Taking Singapore as one example, the figure has been put at 60% of the workforce. This new breed emerges as the largest age group since the baby boomer generation: they are well-educated, well-traveled, tech-savvy, able to multi-task and reaching out for social interaction, Millenials urge even the most traditional companies to deploy a more collaborative and socialized environment.

Catering to this new breed of employees, managers need to fully understand the user behavior whilst introducing refreshed guidelines to ensure a secure social environment at work. To the customers, companies need to understand the user behavior to generate business and brand loyalty in a secured environment. And security is in fact the Achilles’ heel in companies, according to Ernst & Young’s Global Information Security Survey 2013.

  • The number of security incidents increased according to thirty-one percent of the respondents by at least 5% over the last 12 months.
  • Further, the survey indicates that security functions aren’t fully meeting the needs in 83% of organizations.

Companies are eager to protect themselves against cyber-attacks, be it for reputation, revenue, and accountability reasons. It is a step in the right direction, as by not taking security risks into consideration, companies become an easy target for cyber attackers, which can probably jeopardize an organization’s reputation.

Security is one of the top hurdles in organizations adopting new technologies. Formerly, they have been able to keep data behind their walls and have control over it. But with newer technologies, customer data is more exposed. The number of security breaches is on the rise.

Nonetheless, the pace of technology evolution will only accelerate – such as with the ‘social’ demands of these younger cohorts. Millennials will soon dominate the workforce – just the same way Baby Boomers did once. This tech-savvy and highly mobile generation grew up with the Internet and expects readily available information for work and for pleasure on their mobile devices, as they already have on a typical desktop computer. And soon these younger cohorts are going to be the biggest customer group, conducting their lives in the virtual space.

Together, the technology and the customer demand of this newest group drive a transformation of how different sectors act. Looking at the banking sector, Millennials’ expectations are to have access to the services, transact, any time and anyhow.

Mobility strategy is not an easy endeavor for any company. Areas of consideration include access to applications and data, balance of security policies and user convenience, speed to provide needed information or complete a transaction, ease of browsing, etc. For most enterprises it is a time and resource-absorbing task to manifest mobile applications and to maintain these. What businesses need is a backend infrastructure that can help deliver image-heavy content, prioritize traffic to overcome mobile network latency, offer visibility into application performance, all these while keeping web vulnerabilities low.

Furthermore, as cyber crime becomes more complex, with attacks from multiple angles on different devices, single-purpose security machines will be phased out in favor of sophisticated multi-purpose machines. This convergence will also happen in the context of performance, as businesses come to expect fast, reliable user experience on any device.

Published Feb 13, 2014
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