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Balance Security and Enablement Beyond the Corporate Network

Recently General Electric announced that it was piloting an IT initiative that could potentially take the vast majority of its employees off the corporate network when it comes to accessing business applications. According to GE’s CTO, Chris Drumgoole, employees included in the pilot of this new model will securely access applications needed to perform their jobs directly from the Internet.

This clearly enforces how much the network perimeter has evaporated, something we’ve been expecting for quite some time. The fact that one of the largest companies in the world agrees, signals that a shift in focus is more than overdue. Internet-based business access is no longer just ‘nice to have’ – it’s a requirement for the agile and empowered enterprise of the future.

By shifting employee access off the corporate network, GE is empowering their people to do their jobs better and more efficiently. Without time wasted gaining access to critical data and information they need to do their jobs, the entire organization can work smarter. This move also enables the IT organization to shift their collective focus to mission-critical tasks, making IT a business enabler and strategic partner to the rest of the organization.

While enablement is an important business driver, this ‘open network approach’ raises the question of security. Specifically, how do you protect the integrity of your most critical digital assets?

A recent article in TechCrunch proves how important this question is. The article focused on a survey from Deloitte that showed how theft of intellectual property will rise in the next year. And according to this survey, the main perpetrator is not malicious attackers, it’s trusted users. More importantly, the article cited a 2015 report from Ocean Tomo showing that as much as 87 percent of a company’s value is derived from their intellectual property. That is, their training manuals, trade secrets and organizational structures – information that employees need to access to do their jobs.

With so much of the company value at stake, how do you choose between enabling your users and being secure? The answer lies in identity.

Identity is the human-centric approach for ensuring secure access to the applications and data in the enterprise. It provides visibility into all of the identities, accounts and permissions across applications and data used in the business – even those delivered via the cloud. It is the critical key to controlling access and protecting your valuable assets.

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