Cybersecurity to Face “New Reality” ChallengesBy Sofía Hanna | Fri, 03/19/2021 - 15:06
Q: What are the main challenges companies face in adapting to the new reality?
A: The first challenge was when companies began sending employees to work from home and they discovered some employees did not have an internet connection or even a computer. Unfortunately, the second challenge was maintaining security while working remotely. Particularly in 2020, many companies acted in a reactive way instead of thinking about the security of their companies. People were connected and then the company realized they had to deal with the issue of security. All of this has led to the acceleration of the digital transformation even though we are still used to a face-to-face work modality.
Q: Which technologies have seen an increase in demand following the pandemic?
A: Internet service providers started to see increasing demand. People need better connections and better bandwidth but this also meant service providers had to accelerate everything in terms of infrastructure. Today, people are not only working at home; kids are also watching television on the internet or connecting to take classes. The level of connectivity before was enough for the activities of that time. Now, everyone has to be connected to the internet. The quality of the elastic bandwidth, even with the improvements made to the infrastructure, has dropped due to saturation.
The retail industry has also faced challenges because we all shop; we all keep ordering from the supermarket. This sector has seen significant growth and unlike many others, it has had to hire more people, just like e-commerce.
We are part of a dynamic that is not going to stop. I do not like the concept of the "new normal" because for me, this is not normal. However, it is the reality we live in and we must respect it if we want to get out of this pandemic well.
Q: What differentiates F5’s services from the competition and what key points should companies focus on regarding cybersecurity?
A: Cybersecurity has become a crucial issue; it is essential. One of the first things we work on is being proactive and not reactive. While this reality kept us all at home, it also helped us to realize our needs in terms of connectivity and security. A holistic approach in terms of cybersecurity needs to provide full visibility, beginning with the code and going all the way to the application and the delivery of the service.
The pandemic has also given us a massive opportunity at F5 to understand customer needs, and subsequently to grow. Our fiscal year ended in September and our numbers have seen substantial growth. This is due to a strategy that was implemented some years ago that helped us to be prepared for a situation of this type, taking great care of access policies, which go hand in hand with e-commerce and retail.
Of course, anti-fraud solutions have made this possible, allowing us to face numerous challenges. Our cloud architecture has allowed us to provide customers with a significant level of security and connectivity because we cannot leave gaps uncovered.
Q: How is the company tailoring its products to the Mexican market?
A: The current situation has led technology companies to become tailors; we need to offer tailor-made solutions to our clients, considering the size of their company and their needs. By focusing on particular points, we can ensure the entire architecture is secured horizontally for both large and small companies.
There was a time when clients were not interested in security solutions. Now, those same companies are doing all of their tasks and have all their information in the cloud and are turning to our products. Many companies have learned to plan but there are also cases when companies look for a security solution only after being hacked or put in a vulnerable position.
Q: What are the main security gaps Mexican companies overlook?
A: Companies need to take security more seriously, starting with training. The security perimeter has been brutally expanded and people are not aware of it. Before, having all your people in the same office allowed companies to control the equipment employees were using through specific licensing, accesses and policies that employees could not violate. In 2020, from one day to the next, companies bought 3,000 machines and gave them to their people to work from home, opening the perimeter of the company in a brutal way. Immediately, a need was created because otherwise, the business would immediately shut down.
Q: Companies are increasingly migrating to cloud services. What added risks will clients face because of these services?
A: The risk now is that every day when opening the computer, the security perimeter is much weaker because it is spread across different homes. We live in the office now and we increased that perimeter; therefore, the risks increased. Even with the machine turned off, someone can compromise the equipment. This is why training and education are crucial.
A company’s position in terms of security has changed. There are new definitions for the person responsible for the company's security but one thing that needs to be clear is that not all businesses require the same security services. When using the cloud, companies need to understand that the service does not include security; this must be added.
Q: How can companies help their employees to minimize human risk, such as in the case of phishing scams?
A: Obviously, acquiring security solutions is a decision that companies should not put off. They need to invest, even if it is a large investment. Training and making sure you have the right person making the security decisions for the company are essential considerations to embrace cybersecurity.
F5 is a cybersecurity company focused on delivering digital experiences. It offers several solutions for open banking, CX, governance, risk and compliance.