There are two things we have been hearing a lot about in 2018: security and usability.

The launch of the iPhone about 10 years ago helped start a revolution in how we access data. It not only set a new standard in mobile phone technology, but it brought a wave of new applications to end-users of all ages (not just Millennials!) with a significant focus on usability. Gone are the days of the green screen terminals where end-users went on lengthy courses to learn how to operate a mainframe terminal. The explosion of mobile apps not only brought a wealth of innovation in application development, it changed the way everyone uses computing devices. Further, the agility in the cloud has led to much shorter app release cycles and more frequent updates, which has pushed the learning curve even further. There is simply no time to learn how to use an app.

At the same time, we see an increasingly more complex IT landscape where investments in security are going through the roof as the number of attacks and data breaches increase significantly; it’s clear the bad guys are getting smarter and smarter. These days, hackers use advanced machine learning algorithms, IoT devices and the likes to attack any computing device and any level of the stack, including the CPU level as we saw in the Google Project Zero announcements. And if you still believe that none of your data has been hacked, check out and don’t be surprised. These challenges have driven explosive growth in security spending with significantly stricter controls over any end-point.

There is a perceived seesaw relationship between security and usability; if security measures are increased, many feel usability typically goes down and vice versa.

The good news is that Citrix technology allows you to break this seesaw using technologies such as virtualization, advanced networking, and file sharing. Let me give you a few examples:

From our own internal usage we know that when we hand out a corporate provided laptop to an end-user, we see an average of 261 security alerts per end-point per quarter. If instead we give the end-user a virtual desktop with persistence, this drops to 51 security alerts per quarter — but with a non-persistent virtual desktop we see a jaw-dropping decline to 2 security alerts per quarter. At the same time, usability goes up since end users don’t have to upgrade or patch their system, and they can pick up any device of their choice and instantly connect to their workspace with the best possible experience as the workspace adapts to their network connection, device, and peripherals.

Here’s another one that customers see with Citrix Analytics Services. In our networking products, built-in capabilities analyze network and application traffic, detect anomalies and prevent security vulnerabilities while improving throughput overall since the same analytics data is used to optimize network traffic and virtualized applications.

With ShareFile, it is no doubt much easier to handle large files with Enterprise File Sync and Share, but at the same time we log all file events with Citrix Analytics Services to prevent data loss and misuse of files. It is again the best of both worlds: security improves while usability also improves.

Security will become more and more important in 2018, as the number of attacks grows exponentially and becomes more sophisticated at any level of the stack. It will be a Cold War-like arms race where machine learning algorithms fight machine learning algorithms. But no matter what, end-users will not accept poor usability of software solutions.