In an age where a deeper understanding of customers is a competitive necessity, the inability to effectively correlate, analyze and act on all operational data represents a significant missed opportunity to improve decision outcomes and financial performance. Whether it is customers visiting your website, your employees engaging with them through a SaaS CRM application, an authorized executive accessing sensitive corporate data remotely, or an investor researching your investor relations site, secure UX (user experience) that meets the user's expectations is the hallmark of the secure UX enterprise.
It's time for IT Ops and security monitoring across the entire application delivery chain to converge around unified secure UX. As UX has become the primary driver of business performance and as security shifts from prevention to early detection and incident response, newer storage, processing and advanced analytics technologies not only make this convergence feasible, but essential.
Next to database, no technology investment is more strategic to the enterprise than a unified secure UX platform. IT Ops and security teams will need to cooperate and collaborate more effectively, leveraging operational data that achieves their respective and shared objectives.
Secure UX Drives ROI
Cloud, mobile and social megatrends show that secure UX is vital to the enterprise. As enterprises become increasingly software-defined and seek to get better returns on their digital assets with advanced analytics, more are recognizing that this is not attainable without secure UX.
Our study of the S&P 500 two years ago revealed that companies taking a strategic approach to application performance and UX outperform their peers in both financial and stock market performance. And they use 30% fewer tools to get the job done.
Secure UX directly correlates to the three components of ROI (return on investment):
1. Cost reduction
2. Productivity enhancement
3. Incremental revenue from new channels
Secure UX creates a virtuous cycle of improvement. The better your employees' user experience is the more engaged and productive they are. The better your customers' user experience is the stronger their satisfaction and loyalty to the company. The more secure the user experience is the higher user confidence is in the data they are accessing and sharing.
Secure UX will remain a key determinant and differentiator in the Internet of Things (IoT) era, as 40Gbps and 100Gbps networks become the norm and the definition of "user" expands to include machines. Gartner estimates a 35% CAGR of non-consumer IoT devices from 2013 to 2020, reaching an installed base of 25 billion.
Not Just ROI, But GRC as Well
But secure UX is also germane to meeting GRC (governance, regulatory, compliance) requirements and risk management objectives. Not having end-to-end visibility and intelligence into application and network performance and early detection of abnormal behavior puts companies at a competitive disadvantage.
Extended mean time to repair/resolution (MTTR) undermines employee engagement and customer satisfaction and loyalty. The cost of downtime for a business critical application can be upwards of $1 million per hour, depending on the industry.
It also exposes the company to cyber attacks. Rapid incident response becomes impossible, exacerbating risks while potentially costing the company extensive losses of sensitive data, fines for compliance violations and reputational damage.
The underbelly of modern distributed computing environments is growing regulatory oversight pertaining to systems efficacy and security. For example, industries such as healthcare and financial services are under increasing regulatory pressure to demonstrate systems efficacy and security for protecting sensitive personal information and resilience against market disruptions.
While regulations are nuanced to specific industries, the connectivity and interdependencies of systems are similar across all sectors. Regulators are increasingly focused on these relationships – and the underlying systems and applications – that comprise application delivery chains.
Secure UX can address a host of issues, including:
■ Verifying and troubleshooting questionable transactions
■ Analyzing overall application and network performance
■ Identifying vulnerable users, applications and network segments
■ Verifying performance of low-latency apps such as VoIP and video
■ Ensuring systems efficacy and compliance with GRC mandates
Increasing Complexity is the Principal Obstacle
The greatest barrier to consistently high performance is complexity. Because modern applications have so many connection points between the end user and the data center – often with multiple permission levels – performance issues can arise anywhere along the application delivery chain. Meanwhile, the traditional network perimeter has been erased as more on-premises workloads migrate to private and public clouds, and as more services, applications and data are born in the cloud.
The growth of containers and microservices, as well as the emerging IoT creates new risks that further test security governance with myriad connected devices and the associated big data challenges of machine-to-machine communication. This evolution combined with the unprecedented growth in the number of data sources – both internally and from outside the enterprise – significantly increases systems complexity. And as more users are engaging with these apps with their own mobile devices, often over public WiFi networks, complexity and risk rises further.
These trends create a multiplier effect for the amount of data available to attackers. They also marginalize the effectiveness of traditional network and perimeter security solutions, which were designed to prevent earlier generations of malware. Security teams recognize that the perimeter is too porous due to the explosion in devices, applications and data. They also recognize that people inside the perimeter are often the cause of security breaches. Insiders, unknowingly – or knowingly – either create holes that attackers can exploit or improperly release sensitive information.
Gabriel Lowy is the founder of TechTonics Advisors, a research-first investor relations consultancy that helps technology companies maximize value for all stakeholders by bridging vision, strategy, product portfolio and markets with analysts and investors.
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