In 1859, acrobat Charles Blondin embarked on an undertaking that many thought to be mad. He secured a 1,300-foot long, 2-inch-thick rope to either side of Niagara Falls, then walked across it. Thus, Blondin invented the act of extreme tightrope walking, a brand of physical performance that both fascinates and terrifies us even to this day.
This is, in large part, because it’s so genuinely dangerous. A single moment of imbalance is all it takes for an acrobat to fall from the tightrope, a stray gust of wind, losing their footing, or a multitude of other mid-air mishaps.
What does any of this have to do with cybersecurity, though?
Balance. Just as a high-wire artist will fall if they lean too far to one side, a business cannot be secure if it does not balance asset protection with convenience. This delicate balancing act has long been one of the core challenges of IT.
If a security solution is too frustrating or cumbersome to use, people will seek a less secure alternative, or they will simply forego that activity until they’re in a more convenient place to be productive; for example, by emailing a work file to their own phone or laptop. Conversely, if a company security team takes too lax an approach, critical data will constantly be at risk. Either way, the end result is the same.
When the Balancing Act Fails
In regulated industries such as government, healthcare, and financial services, this can be catastrophic. Regulatory penalties aside, these three industries frequently deal with information that, were it leaked into the public domain, could ruin both individuals and businesses.
Take the recent SolarWinds megabreach as a prime example. The software developer and service provider worked with some of the largest high-security organizations in the world, including multiple federal agencies. We still don’t know the full scope of the damage caused, though early estimates suggest as many as 18,000 customers may have received poisoned updates. The hack was one of the most sophisticated we’ve seen yet, taking advantage of the fact that the firm was not using a Zero-Trust security model.
As it turns out, the attackers needn’t have bothered to go to such lengths. The password SolarWinds chose for its update server was “solarwinds123”, a gross security oversight allegedly blamed on an intern by the former SolarWinds CEO.
The Case for Unified Infrastructure
Balancing convenience with security within individual software solutions is only the first step.
Today’s workplace is often a mishmash of disparate software and solutions, a series of disconnected working parts that lack either integration or standardization. This can be challenging enough to manage when one is physically present in the office. Throw distributed work into the equation, and the problem seems nearly insurmountable.
The more working parts there are in a machine, the greater the chance of failure. Consequently, the more solutions an employee must jump between as part of a standard workflow, the more likely they will make a mistake and put business data at risk. GENOA International knew this – just as it knew it was well-positioned to help its clients address this problem.
Part of the GENOA Group, the Austria-based GENOA International works extensively with high-security organizations such as banks, insurance brokers, governments, and healthcare providers. In order to ensure that the data of these clients is kept safe, GENOA International partnered with BlackBerry for the development of GENOA Transformer© GS. GENOA Transformer GS enables secure, streamlined interoperability between the BlackBerry Spark® platform, including BlackBerry® Work, and Google Workspace™ based in the cloud.
Through this solution, clients don’t need to interrupt employee workflows in order to stay secure.
“Security is extremely important for our customers,” says GENOA CEO Elmar Jilka. “They cannot afford to compromise it under any circumstances. However, they also need to ensure their staff can work effectively – security means little if no one can get anything done.”
“BlackBerry allows us to provide a solution to this problem,” he continues. “We’ve seen a lot of large organizations with Google Workspace who are very excited about GENOA Transformer GS. It’s easy to understand, and it enables rather than interrupts workflows – and it’s secured by BlackBerry, the most trusted security brand in the world.”
The delicate balance between security and usability can often feel like walking a high-wire. But as demonstrated by GENOA International, this doesn’t have to be the case. With the right solutions and platforms, you can unify your infrastructure, protect your assets, and allow your users to keep working as they always have – whether remotely, or in-office.
Learn more about GENOA Transformer GS.