Tuesday 17 September 2019

Find right balance between cyber security and staff engagement, urges Citrix expert

PJ Hough, chief product officer at Citrix, will appear at this month’s Secure Computing Forum
PJ Hough, chief product officer at Citrix, will appear at this month’s Secure Computing Forum

Ailish O'Hora

Balancing your company's cyber security while maintaining productive and engaging employees is one of the challenges in the modern and technology-driven workplace.

With employees increasingly expecting access to the technology and information that they have in their private lives in the working environment, this brings risks, says PJ Hough, executive vice-president and chief product officer at Citrix, the Florida-based multinational software giant.

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"The old rules of the game don't apply anymore. What makes employees more productive is also risky," said Hough, who is originally from Co Tipperary.

"I see it myself on the train from Tullamore. Employees on the move are increasingly accessing sensitive work information over public Wi-Fi, which is open to interception."

He added that because staff members are expecting this liberal approach to work from the firms they serve, employers can no longer prevent users from operating in that way.

"The horse has bolted. So employers need to balance this expectation while protecting their businesses.

"We did a study recently which found that over 40pc of workers would turn down an offer from a company that did not offer flexible work models," he added.

"When you look at all the cranes across the Dublin skyline building modern office blocks, future employees expect the most up-to-date technology in these work environments."

Flexibility is key in dealing with employees and the way they work, he said.

Hough added that the research showed 70pc of workers not already living in a rural county or commuter belt would consider a move if they knew their professional life would not suffer.

Other ways to help achieve the balance between businesses' cyber security and maintaining a productive workforce include the need to stay ahead of the game, as advances like artificial intelligence can be used to a company's advantage. And identifying what represents a real risk to the organisation is crucial, Hough said.

There are lessons to be learned from best practice too.

Hough is a speaker at the upcoming Secure Computing Forum cyber security conference at Dublin's RDS on September 12.

The event is a joint venture between DataSolutions and Independent News & Media Group Limited.

Hough will address how, as enterprise security needs evolve, organisations can maintain a balance between the enforcement of security policy in the enterprise, and the desire to deliver a productive and engaging employee experience.

He will also address emerging techniques and strategies that are improving our ability to preserve this balance.

Other keynote speakers include Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon; John P Carlin, former assistant attorney general for the US Department of Justice National Security Division; and Mustafa Al-Bassam, a former hacker, security adviser at Secure Trading and doctoral researcher at University College, London.

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