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90% of global enterprises are adopting zero trust

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Cloud security firm Zscaler has found that more than 90% of IT leaders, who have started their migration to the cloud have implemented, are implementing, or are planning to implement a zero trust security architecture.

Supporting the mass migration to zero trust to secure users and the cloud, more than two thirds (68%) believe that secure cloud transformation is impossible with legacy network security infrastructures or that ZTNA has clear advantages over traditional firewalls and VPNs for remote access to applications. This is according to The State of Zero Trust Transformation 2023 report, which draws on a global study of over 1,900 senior IT decision makers at organisations globally, which have already started migrating applications and services to the cloud.

Zscaler’s research shows that against a backdrop of rapid digital transformation, IT leaders believe zero trust – built on the principle that no user, device or application should be inherently trusted – is the ideal framework for securing enterprise users, workloads and IoT/OT environments in a highly distributed cloud and mobile-centric world. Approached from a holistic IT perspective, zero trust has the potential to unlock business opportunities across the overall digitisation process, from driving increased innovation to supporting better employee engagement, or delivering tangible cost efficiencies.

The Leading Cloud Concerns 

IT leaders identified security, access and complexity as top cloud concerns, creating a clear case for zero trust to overcome these hurdles. When asked about legacy network and security infrastructures, 54% indicated they believed VPNs or perimeter-based firewalls are both ineffective at protecting against cyberattacks or providing poor visibility into application traffic and attacks. This further validates the findings that 68% agree that secure cloud transformation is impossible with a legacy network security infrastructure or that ZTNA has clear advantages over traditional firewalls and VPNs for secure remote access to critical applications.

The Cloud Context – A Lack of Confidence

While progress on zero trust is strong, Zscaler found that globally only 22% of organisations are fully confident they are leveraging the full potential of their cloud infrastructure, so while organisations have made solid initial steps on their cloud journey, there is a massive opportunity to capitalise on the benefits of the cloud.

Regionally, the results vary with 42% of organisations in the Americas feeling fully confident in the use of their cloud infrastructure, compared with 14% of organisations across EMEA and 24% in APAC. While India (55%) and Brazil (51%) are leading on a country level followed by the US (41%) and Mexico (36%), European and Asian countries are less confident: in Europe, Sweden (21%) and the UK (19%) are leading followed by Australia (17%), Japan (17%) and Singapore (16%). The remaining European countries are lagging behind: The Netherlands with 14%, Italy (12%), both France and Spain at 11% and Germany with 9%. This chasm between the most progressive country being more than six times the most lagging country shows varying confidence levels of the cloud by region and further presents an opportunity for education and closing the skills gap. 

While at first glance security appears to stand in the way of fully realizing the full potential of the cloud, the motivations behind cloud migration suggest a more fundamental barrier in how IT leaders view the cloud. IT leaders cited data privacy concerns, challenges to securing data in the cloud, and the challenges of scaling network security as among the top barriers to embracing the cloud’s full potential. However, when asked about the main factors driving digital transformation initiatives in their organizations, the top three factors were cost reduction, managing cyber risk, and facilitating emerging technologies like 5G and Edge computing, suggesting there may still be a distinct lack of understanding around how to fully capitalise on its broader business benefits.

Meeting the Hybrid Mix with Zero Trust

IT leaders surveyed in Zscaler’s research predicted that in the next 12 months, their organisations’ employee base will continue to be fully embracing the different work style options available to them, split between full-time office workers (38%), fully remote (35%) and hybrid (27%). However, it also found that organisations may still be unequipped to handle the ever-evolving mix of hybrid working requirements.

Globally, only 19% indicated that a hybrid work specific zero trust-based infrastructure is already in place, suggesting that organisations are not fully ready to handle the security of this highly distributed working environment on a broad scale. Next to those who have already updated their infrastructure, a further 50% are in the process of implementing or are planning a zero trust-based hybrid strategy.

Employee user experience was mentioned as the top reasons for implementing a zero trust-based hybrid work infrastructure. More than half (52%) agreed that implementation would help tackle inconsistent access experiences for on-premise and cloud-based applications and data, 46% that it would tackle productivity loss due to network access issues, and 39% that using zero trust would allow employees to access applications and data from personal devices. These views reflect the wider challenge beyond security that hybrid working presents around access, experience and performance, and the role zero trust plays in response.

The Potential of Zero Trust as a Business Enabler

In line with the motivations behind cloud migration, Zscaler found that a focus on wider strategic outcomes is missing from how organisations are planning emerging technology initiatives. Asked about the single most challenging aspect of implementing emerging technology projects, 30% cited adequate security, followed by budget requirements for further digitisation (23%). However, only 19% cited dependency on strategic business decisions as a challenge.

While budget concerns are natural, the focus on securing the network while ignoring strategic business alignment suggests organisations are focused on security without a full understanding of its business benefit, and that zero trust itself is not yet understood as a business enabler.

“The state of zero trust transformation within organisations today is promising – implementation rates are strong,” said Nathan Howe, VP of emerging tech, 5G at Zscaler.

“But organisations could be more ambitious. There’s an incredible opportunity for IT leaders to educate business decision-makers on zero trust as a high-value business driver, especially as they grapple with providing a new class of hybrid workplace or production environment and reliant on a range of emerging technologies, such as IoT and OT, 5G and even the metaverse. A zero trust platform has the power to redesign business and organisational infrastructure requirements: to become a true business driver that doesn’t just enable the hybrid working model employees are demanding, but enables organisations to become fully digitised, benefiting from agility, efficiency and future-proofed infrastructure.”

Zscaler makes four key recommendations for organisations to capitalise on zero trust:

  1. Not all zero trust offerings are created equal: It’s important to implement a true zero trust architecture built on the principle that no user or application is inherently trusted. It starts with validating user identity combined with business policy enforcement based on contextual data to provide users, devices and workloads direct access to applications and resources – never the corporate network. This eliminates the attack surface so threats can’t gain access to the corporate network and move laterally thus improving the security posture.
  2. Zero trust as enabler of transformation and business outcomes: With its increased levels of security, visibility and control, leverage holistic a zero trust-based architecture to remove the complexity from IT operations to allow organisations to focus on gaining improved business outcomes as part of their digital transformation initiatives and remain competitive.
  3. Zero trust for the boardroom: To align with business strategies, CIOs and CISOs should leverage the findings to help dispel fear, uncertainty and doubt around what zero trust means and to promote its full business impact with key decision makers. 
  4. Zero trust-enabled infrastructures as foundation for the future: Emerging technologies need to be looked at as a competitive business advantage and zero trust will support the secure and performant connectivity requirements of emerging trends.

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The Dark Side of Killer Drones

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The Dark Side of Killer Drones

Killer drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), have been a topic of much debate in recent years.

On one hand, these drones have the potential to be used for a variety of beneficial purposes, such as surveillance, search and rescue, and targeted killing of terrorists. On the other hand, there are serious concerns about the potential negative consequences of using killer drones, such as the loss of innocent lives, violation of international laws, and the psychological impact on both the drone operators and the communities affected. In this article, we will explore the dark side of killer drones.

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Source: Crown Copyright/ BBC

1. More Innocent Casualties

One of the primary concerns about the use of killer drones is the risk of innocent casualties. Drones are often used in conflict zones, where the situation is often complex and fluid, making it difficult to accurately identify targets. As a result, there have been numerous reports of innocent civilians being killed or injured in drone strikes. For example, a report by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimated that between 384 and 807 civilians have been killed in drone strikes in Pakistan between 2004 and 2019.

2. Violation of International Laws

Another major concern about the use of killer drones is the potential violation of international laws. The use of drones in conflict zones raises questions about the legality of targeted killings, the right to due process, and the protection of civilians. The United Nations has called for greater transparency and accountability in the use of drones, and several human rights organizations have criticized the use of drones as a violation of international law. For instance, in 2013, a report by Human Rights Watch found that the US drone program in Yemen was violating international law, including the right to life and the prohibition against arbitrary killing.

3. Psychological Impact on Operators

The use of killer drones also has a significant psychological impact on the operators who are responsible for carrying out the strikes. Drone operators often suffer from symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression. This is partly due to the fact that drone operators are often required to carry out long-distance killings, often for extended periods of time, and the fact that they are often isolated from the consequences of their actions. For example, a study by the University of Utah found that drone operators were more likely to experience symptoms of PTSD and depression compared to other military personnel.

4. Stronger Dammage on Communities

The use of killer drones also has a significant psychological impact on the communities affected by the strikes. The constant threat of drone attacks can cause significant stress and anxiety, leading to social and economic disruption. For instance, a report by the International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic found that drone strikes in Pakistan had a significant psychological impact on the local population, including symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression.

Conclusion

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Sources: Thales, General Atomics, Northdrop Grumman, EMT Penzberg, Prox Dynamics | © DW

The use of killer drones raises serious concerns about the potential for innocent casualties, violation of international laws, and the psychological impact on both the drone operators and the communities affected. The negative consequences of using killer drones far outweigh the benefits, and it is imperative that steps are taken to limit their use and ensure greater transparency and accountability. The international community must work together to establish clear guidelines for the use of drones, to ensure that they are used only in a manner that is consistent with international law and human rights.

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Vodafone Ireland turns to Amdocs to drive enhanced customer experience

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Duncan is an award-winning editor with more than 20 years experience in journalism. Having launched his tech journalism career as editor of Arabian Computer News in Dubai, he has since edited an array of tech and digital marketing publications, including Computer Business Review, TechWeekEurope, Figaro Digital, Digit and Marketing Gazette.


Vodafone Ireland has chosen Amdocs, a provider of software and services to communications and media companies, to transition its infrastructure and application workloads to the cloud, enabling an enhanced customer experience and rapid adoption of the latest 5G innovations.

Under the agreement, Amdocs Customer Experience Suite (CES) will migrate from Vodafone Ireland on-premise to the cloud, providing the Irish operator with greater flexibility and capacity to support its future growth.  

Mairead Cullen, CIO at Vodafone Ireland, said: “Moving to the cloud is a key part of our strategy as we look to become even more dynamic, agile and responsive to our customers’ needs. We have a long-standing relationship with Amdocs and we’re pleased to be collaborating with them on this important initiative.”

Anthony Goonetilleke, group president of technology and head of strategy at Amdocs, said: “By migrating its IT services infrastructure to the cloud, Vodafone Ireland can ensure it has the foundations in place to achieve growth and further enhance the experience of its customers.

“We are excited to be taking such a central role in the company’s cloud strategy.”

Want to learn more about cybersecurity and the cloud from industry leaders? Check out Cyber Security & Cloud Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London.

Explore other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge here.

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How to Align Data and Analytics Governance with Business Outcomes

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How to Align Data and Analytics Governance with Business Outcomes

With access to large amounts of data made available to businesses, maintaining and governing the kind of data that is accessible to users have become significantly essential.

Proper data and analytics governance in organizations can help them in achieving on-point data and analytics processes.

The use of data and analytics is increasing across practically all industries. Due to the availability of inexpensive storage alternatives, organizations have access to more data. It’s not surprising that the usage of analytics due to access to extensive data has expanded to every part of the company when you take into account the growing number of user-friendly tools for managing, retrieving, and analyzing data. 

However, a lot of effort goes into managing data and analytics. Thus, organizations must ensure that their efforts are aligned with their business priorities, and the data is accurate in nature and thoroughly secured. Without analytics governance, even if the organization has a good hold on its data governance policies, the advantages of establishing policies and processes to govern the analytics process still stand. As data governance guarantees your business has processes and standards around the use of data, analytics governance provides the same level of oversight to the way analytics initiatives are built and delivered.

Aligning Data and Analytics Governance

Data and analytics governance initiatives must be closely related to organizational strategies. However, businesses frequently base their data and analytics governance processes on data rather than the business. Here are a few points on how businesses can align their data and analytics governance with their business outcomes.

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Trusted Governance

Forming business decisions based on the notion that “all data is equal” is no longer a sound strategy because data and analytics capabilities exist across a company and differ in nature. Instead, create a paradigm of trust-based governance that allows for a dispersed data and analytics ecosystem and is able to help business executives make decisions that are more confidently appropriate to the circumstances.

Digitization

With the essence of developing technology, digitization has taken over almost every business to stay relevant in the market. However, for businesses to gain the best outcomes from the digital space, digitization is essential. And for successful digitization, data and analytics governance must function based on factors like digital ethics and transparency. Therefore, ensuring that the values and concepts of digitization are reflected in the data and analytics governance is crucial to significantly align it with business outcomes.

Data Security

Today, organizations are aware of the potential risks associated with their businesses and securing data has become a necessity. This awareness implies that they address both the threats and the possibilities brought about by data and analytics. Organizations frequently manage risk and market potential independently, and they also do not really prioritize information security when assessing business results. Therefore, data and analytics governance authorities should have interdisciplinary teams capable of making decisions that are well-balanced, giving risk, opportunities, and security the appropriate weight while considering the organizations’ future interests in mind.

 

Today, businesses are aware of the fact that without effective data and analytics governance, their initiatives and investments in data and analytics won’t be able to satisfy important organizational goals like increased revenue, cost reduction, and improved customer experiences. Therefore, aligning it with business outcomes is critical for business success.

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