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The future of work is people-centric and secure

By PJ Hough, Executive Vice President and Chief Product Officer
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Of all the innovations promised by the future of work, there’s one that’s especially transformative: eliminating the age-old tradeoff between user experience and security. It’s a tension every IT professional knows all too well. People keep asking for more and better ways to get things done, from the types of apps and devices they can use to the places they can work, but saying yes all the time would open a Pandora’s box of complexity and security risks. And if there’s one area IT cannot afford to make compromises, it’s security.

At Citrix, we believe that the future of work means being able to have it all: saying “yes” to the freedom, flexibility, and seamless productivity employees desire, without giving an inch on security.

Organizations need to improve security in tandem with user experience, so they become more secure and more productive, while users and IT become more successful and satisfied. These are not easy challenges but they can be successfully addressed with the right solution—a digital workspace.

With a fully integrated digital workspace, it’s possible for IT to say “YES” to just about everything a user could want: access to productivity applications—Windows, SaaS, web, mobile—as well as the desktops and data their work depends on, delivered to any device they choose to use, anywhere they need to work. This would allow for a consistent, seamless, and convenient experience across platforms and networks, and single sign-on that follows users across apps and identity systems, so they don’t have to keep re-authenticating. It would also have contextual access and performance capabilities that deliver the best experience in every scenario, from corporate HQ to coffee shop to home office, tailored to the user’s identity, current device, and the work they’re trying to get done.

People-centric innovations like these add up for an employee over the course of a day. They get friction and frustration out of the way so people can get more done—more easily—and gain the mental space needed to do their best work. That’s as good for the business as it is for employees.

Of course, IT is people too—and IT professionals have their own wish list for better ways to get things done. IT needs to be able to minimize complexity while being able to onboard, deliver, and manage all of the apps in the organization—on-premises, public or hybrid cloud, any platform—simply and holistically.

The question remains if people-centric IT can maintain its security integrity. As Citrix VP & CTO Abhishek Chauhan likes to say, “Every time an IT person says yes—to SaaS, mobile, cloud, BYOD—a hair on his or her head turns gray.” It’s a jungle out there, and it’s IT’s job to put a barbed-wire fence around that jungle. But the network you now have to secure as an enterprise goes way beyond the boundaries of your buildings and your branches. The security mandate now extends to clouds, mobile devices, third-party networks, and IoT.  It’s no wonder, then, that more than 68 percent of respondents to a recent Citrix study said that the traditional IT security model is broken.

To make the future of work as secure as it is productive, IT must be enabled to take a broader, more software-defined view of the network perimeter to maintain security without getting in the way of users. There are two components to this approach. First, they need to up-level security policies from individual platforms and silos to a single, uniform policy that can be applied centrally and consistently across every element of the digital workspace. The contextual awareness woven into the fabric of our solutions lets IT provide just the right balance of security and flexibility for any situation. Second, it’s important for organizations to implement solutions that allow IT to enforce these policies wherever and however the user works, over any network. This is the essence of the software-defined perimeter, and it’s the key to saying “yes” to the people-centric experiences employees are asking for.

As security threats become more sophisticated and dynamic, IT must be equipped with deeper intelligence and insight to maintain control and protection. IT must have the tools to gather comprehensive data on user behavior from all the services, including the applications and networks people access and use, so they are able to see the signals that can help them avoid an impending breach.

Digital security is nothing new—but organizations need to make sure it is built into their enterprise technologies to ensure that people-centric innovation never puts the organization at risk. Because the future of work begins with “yes.”

This article was produced by Citrix and not by the Quartz editorial staff.

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