Are employees the greatest enemy to security?
There is no one-size-fits-all security solution to address the threat landscape today’s businesses face. Each organization has unique security obstacles and obligations. Billions of dollars have been invested into IT security solutions and increasing annual security budgets has been an imperative. In fact, 98 percent of business respondents reported they will spend over a million dollars in 2017, per a global study by Citrix and the Ponemon Institute. However, many of the systems and people in place are still not able to handle today’s threats.
Security threats increase as more devices crowd networks and as people have more freedom to work from anywhere, on any device. More devices, especially bring your own (BYO) devices are the new norm, and businesses need to put information security at the top of their priority list to ensure apps and data are secure no matter where they reside or are accessed. On top of this, businesses need skilled staff to plan how they will reduce risk and improve the security of their applications and data.
The global study by Citrix and the Ponemon Institute on IT security infrastructure found that less than half (48 percent) of survey respondents said their organization has security policies in place to ensure employees and third parties only have the appropriate access to sensitive business information. Not helping is that nearly 70 percent of business respondents said that some of their existing security solutions are outdated and inadequate.
Top security concerns confirmed in the study:
- Poor security deployments: 70 percent said their organization had made investments in IT security technology that was not successfully deployed (e.g. shelfware).
- Unapproved and rogue app deployments: 65 perceny of respondents said their organization is not able to reduce the inherent risk of unapproved applications – increasing risk, including from shadow IT.
- Unmanaged data at risk: 64 percent say their organization has no way to effectively reduce the inherent risk of unmanaged data (e.g. downloaded onto USB drives, shared with third parties, or files with no expiration date).
- Talent pool is small: Only 40 percent said their organization is successfully hiring knowledgeable and experienced security practitioners.
While there’s no silver bullet to fixing security business challenges, survey respondents shared that they believe there are solutions to help better manage security challenges:
- Creating a unified view: 53 percent percent believe a unified view of users across the enterprise.
- Becoming proactive: 48 percent percent answered an ability to keep up with new or emerging attacks.
Respondents also shared that some specific improvements can be made to reduce their overall risk:
- Technology improvements: 65 percent believe an improvement in technologies will improve their overall security posture and reduce risk.
- Staffing investments: 72 percent say an improvement in staffing will improve their overall security posture and reduce risk.
These findings are the second installment of the global study from Citrix and the Ponemon Institute. The first report reviewed how business complexity is hindering security postures and adding to the shadow IT trend.
“Today’s constantly evolving cybersecurity threat landscape requires a new, more flexible IT security framework – one that extends beyond traditional fixed end-point security approaches to deliver threat detection and protection of apps and data at all stages. Citrix is committed to delivering such security for data at rest, in motion, and in use, " Tim Minahan, chief marketing officer of Citrix said.
Dr Peng Wei: Designing the Future of Autonomous Aircraft
Air traffic is expected to double by 2037. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the world will need 37,000+ new passenger and freight aircraft, and more than half a million new pilots—unless we come up with another solution. Right now, a George Washington University School of Engineering and Applied Science professor, Dr Peng Wei, is starting to research autonomous electric aircraft design.
NASA will fund the research, which will study how to minimise risks for electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL). As Airbus states: ‘Autonomous technologies also have the potential to improve air traffic management, enhance sustainability performance and further improve aircraft safety’.
Who is Dr Wei?
An assistant professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Dr Wei has researched aircraft control, optimisation, and AI and ML applications in aviation. Over the next three years, he’ll lead the US$2.5mn NASA grant project in collaboration with researchers from Vanderbilt, the University of Texas at Austin, and MIT’s Lincoln Lab.
Why is His Research Important?
Even though the wide adoption of self-piloting cars, much less aircraft, is still far down the road, technologies that Dr Wei and his colleagues are researching will form the commercial transport of the future. But aviation manufacturers, in order to produce autonomous aircraft, will have to meet extremely high safety standards.
‘The key challenge for self-piloting capabilities is how the system reacts to unforeseen events’, said Arne Stoschek, Wayfinder Project Executive at Acubed. ‘That’s the big jump from automated to autonomous’. In the air, AI-piloted aircraft will have to manoeuvre around adverse weather conditions, such as wind and storms, and other high-altitude risks, such as GPS hacking, cyberattacks, and aircraft degradation. And the stakes are high.
‘If a machine learning algorithm makes a mistake in Facebook, TikTok, Netflix —that doesn't matter too much because I was just recommended a video or movie I don't like’, Dr Wei said. ‘But if a machine learning algorithm mistake happens in a safety-critical application, such as aviation or in autonomous driving, people may have accidents. There may be fatal results’.
What Are His Other Projects?
In addition to the new NASA research, Dr Wei has been awarded three other grants to pursue AI-piloted aircraft:
- A 2-year grant from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in conjunction with West Virginia University and Honeywell Aerospace to investigate “learning-based” aviation systems
- A six-month SBIR Phase I NASA award with Intelligent Automation to mitigate airspace congestion at vertiports—the electric craft version of airports.
- A 1-year collaborative grant with the University of Virginia and George Mason University from the Virginia Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI) to develop anti-cyber attack technologies and aviation video systems
Research like NASA and Dr Wei’s three-year programme will help improve how AI reacts and adapts to challenging air conditions. In coming years, autonomous aircraft will likely take off slowly, starting with small package delivery, then upgraded drones, and finally commercialised aircraft. But congestion issues will worsen until autonomous aircraft are the best alternative.
According to BBC Future, by 2030, commuters will spend nearly 100 hours a year in Los Angeles and Moscow traffic jams, and 43 cities will be home to more than 10 million people. The final verdict? Bring on the AI-operated transit.