Intrinsic Security

Why security should be an asset in your innovation toolbox

Convergence, specifically a new network-delivered distributed model for security, can deliver real bottom-line value by enabling greater levels of innovation.

You may be surprised by this statement if you follow the anecdotal version of security as a blocker for innovation. With a reputation for saying no, security teams are chiefly viewed as the people who stop creative-thinking staff from trying new things and inadvertently stopping innovation in aid of protection.

As part of a recent survey conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of VMware, we discovered that 61% of IT teams and 52% of developers currently consider security a roadblock to their innovation.

But is this reputation deserved? This was the question up for discussion for the third episode of our ‘Convergence’ content series with our VMware EMEA panel of Nick Cross, vice president of networking and security sales, Ralf Gegg, vice president of end user computing sales, and David White, director of security solution engineering. With modern security transforming into a new, flexible discipline, can we in fact consider security to be an asset rather than a hindrance in a company’s innovation toolbox?

Is infrastructure-based innovation real?

To argue in favor of a new distributed model for security, we must first argue for the ability of an optimized infrastructure to truly help enable innovation. Nick was challenged to put forward his case, for which he started with a reminder that this was a big driver behind VMware pioneering the Software Defined Data Centre in the first place, with its efficiencies and operational agility aligned to ever increasing demands from businesses.

“For companies to really remain competitive, they need to be able to monetise new services and applications as quickly as possible. So, an innovative, agile and secure infrastructure is critical to a business’ future and ability to execute”, said Nick. It’s even more important than a few years ago with the acceleration of the hybrid workforce, meaning businesses now need to secure thousands of satellite offices rather than just the now old-fashioned legacy centralized model.

Is the enablement of innovation just another term for improved collaboration?

A question posed to Ralf, he believes that “whenever technologies merge – and in this case security becomes part of the overall infrastructure rather than being an add on and therefore potentially a barrier for innovation – teams get bigger, and security becomes part of project teams”. As businesses adopt this approach, we will naturally see an increase in collaboration within projects and day-to-day work.

Particularly when there is a breach, security teams need to work with infrastructure teams to get the right data and assess what’s happening in order to implement a response, measure its effectiveness and ensure compliance.

Is security’s reputation as a barrier deserved?

Key to any successful cyber security implementation is communication, so for David it’s important that cyber security teams don’t just say no. “It really helps to have an explanation of why not”. There are multiple reasons why security teams say no but to other employees it can come across as the team just making it more difficult for them to do their job. It’s important therefore that companies invest in ongoing training for all employees – even and perhaps most importantly the C-Suite – to help bridge the perception gap and ultimately make businesses safer.

The reality is that the world’s best security team couldn’t keep up with the threats – they are too varied and too many. Which is why, for Ralf, businesses shouldn’t blame security for slowing down innovation because their job is far from simple. Organisations that are driving innovation need to take responsibility from a security perspective rather than passing it off as the sole duty of one team.

In today’s digital world where security threats are on the rise, the companies that invest in a secure platform for employees and outbound customer-facing applications and services are the ones that will survive. If security becomes a part of every project, right from the start, as a true collaborator, innovation won’t just happen – it will happen much faster.

To listen to the conversation in full and future episodes of the ‘Convergence’ content series visit your chosen podcast player. Next up in the series, we will be discussing how to stay competitive in an endemic world.


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