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Putting Security in Context

Putting Security in Context

by Tim Minahan, Executive Vice President of Business Strategy and Chief Marketing Officer at Citrix

Innovation knows no boundaries. It can happen anywhere, anytime. And it doesn’t occur in a vacuum. Innovation flows when employees and contractors openly share technology, ideas and information. Smart companies recognize this. But they’re also aware of the security risks such a distributed and collaborative innovation model creates. And they’re upping their game to manage them. Take Saab, for example. The defense company has a long history of breaking new ground on land, sea and in the air and delivering some of the most innovative products the world has ever seen. At its core, Saab believes that true collaboration leads to better solutions. And to drive it, the company has created an intelligent digital workspace in which its 16,000 employees can share technology, ideas and thinking across more than 80 locations in a secure and reliable way to meet the needs of its customers and give its business a competitive edge.

An Age-Old Problem

“We work every day with classified information. And while we need to be open in one end, we need to be very closed in another to ensure data integrity for those we serve,” said Mats Hultin, Group CIO, Saab. “That’s the key for us – to balance security and agility.”

In the past, when innovation teams were in a single, physical collaboration environment, such a balancing act was a little easier to strike than it is today. Today, innovation teams – from full-time employees to contractors and sub-contractors – are spread around the globe. Design drawings and collaboration must also extend across a multitude of different devices — from laptops to phones and tablets to connected things. And access business apps and sensitive company information anywhere is there is a WiFi connection or a cellular signal.

This dynamic work environment promises to drive new levels of freedom, productivity and innovation. It also introduces new vulnerabilities and an expanded attack surface that requires a more intelligent and contextual security model that centers on the user rather than the device.

Savvy IT and security teams will combine centralized policy control, user behavior insights, and machine learning and artificial intelligence to administer security policies based on user behaviors and access patterns. When an anomaly or risky behavior is detected, the system will contextually apply appropriate security measures ranging from requiring a second-layer of authentication when logging in from a new device and turning off certain features such as the ability to download or print when accessing from a foreign network to blocking access to select (or all) apps after multiple failed log-in attempts or access from a dangerous location.

A New Solution

This is where things like digital workspace technologies, come into play because they allow companies to provide access to all the applications their employees need and prefer to use in one, unified experience while giving IT a single control plane they can use to onboard and manage application performance without getting in the way of the user experience.

A true digital workspace requires three attributes:

  • First, it’s unified, giving users single-sign-on access to all the apps and content they need to be productive in one unified experience.
  • Second, it’s secure, applying contextual security policies to ensure apps and content remain safe
  • And third, it’s intelligent, using machine learning, micro-apps and bots to surface key insights and guide and automate work.

In creating digital workspaces, companies can serve up personalized access to the systems, information and tools their employees need, when and how they need them while keeping their information and systems secure. And they can do it in a way that provides:

  • Standardization and simplification through a single, centralized workspace that unites users and keeps business in sync.
  • Deployment efficiencies and cost control, as IT can more easily and cost-effectively stand up and provision servers, workgroups and new projects.
  • Greater resilience and security enabled by a flexible, digital perimeter that ensures every user is intrinsically secure.

It’s been said that good things come to those who wait. But innovation happens fast. In embracing tools that enable them to unify their teams and power a more collaborative and intelligent way to work, companies can not only keep pace, but speed ahead and lap the competition.


About the Author

Putting Security in ContextTim Minahan is the is Executive Vice President of Business Strategy and Chief Marketing Officer at Citrix, a leading provider of digital workspace solutions. He has a proactive role in helping to drive focused strategic initiatives and the company’s overall business strategy. In addition, he leads global marketing strategy and operations for the company’s vision of securely delivering the world’s most important apps and data to enable people and businesses to work better.

A technology industry veteran who specializes in defining new markets and positioning companies to own them, Minahan has served in a broad range of business leadership roles at leading enterprise software, cloud, and services firms. He most recently spearheaded SAP’s successful transition to the cloud as CMO of the company’s Cloud and Line of Business unit. Minahan joined SAP when the company acquired Ariba, where he was SVP of Business Network Strategy and global CMO.

Minahan is also on the board of Made in a Free World, a non-profit technology company that is using the power of networks and big data to detect and mitigate forced labor from global supply chains. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Boston College and completed the CMO Program at Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management.

Tim can be reached online at @tminahan or at our company website,



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