News & Analysis

Zebra Technologies to Enhance Focus on Security Solutioning


The better connectivity of data is like a double-edge sword. While it is helping businesses in numerous ways, it is also making our data vulnerable than ever before. The constant hike in data breaches and cyberattacks has made the cybersecurity as one of the most crucial topics in the boardrooms.

“The only solution to this is to take security as the top concern for businesses, instead of leaving it as an afterthought,” said Michael Zachman, Chief Security Officer, Zebra Technologies, in an interview with CXOToday. Excerpts from the interview:

What are the emerging trends in the space of security?

As the adoption of technology continues to be on the rise, security naturally becomes a top priority for the enterprises. In fact, up to 70% of the surveyed APAC organizations (including India) are constantly monitoring their IoT security to ensure that their system integrity and privacy are not compromised.

While the IoT and cloud technology are connecting people and information to allow businesses with unprecedented operational control and visibility, clever hackers are finding new ways to attack networks. Today, there are more than 8 billion internet-connected (IoT) devices in the world, ranging from consumer devices like smart watches to enterprise devices like ruggedized mobile computers, scanners and printers within organizations. These create new cyber vulnerabilities that can result in potential financial losses and damaged corporate reputations.

Which are the most vulnerable industries in the space of cyber security?

Many key industries today are vulnerable to cyberattacks. Government and public safety are the most targeted of all industry sectors that accounts for 16% of all cyberattacks. Healthcare is the second most targeted industry which accounts for 15% of all cyberattacks and in retail, there is a focus around e-commerce and tends to satisfy the financial motives of hackers

Where does India stand today in the space of cybersecurity vis-à-vis the global standpoint?

According to the Global Security Index (GCI) scores in 2019, India ranks 15th worst in cybersecurity of the top 60 nations, which puts India far below the average. Many organizations around the world (including India) remain complacent despite many widely publicized cyberattacks over the past decade. This is especially applicable to those that have not yet experienced a security breach or incident.

There seems to be a general attitude that if they have not encountered a problem yet, then whatever they are doing is deemed to be enough. This lack of urgency is leaving many organizations of all sizes across industries exposed to the realities of today’s cyber threats. Experts agree that security is an ever-evolving environment, and safeguarding data and networks is a constant battle that requires a proactive approach and multiple layers of protection.

How does Zebra as a brand ensure that its client’s data is safe and secured?

We believe security is never an afterthought or feature that’s added on at the end. Security starts at the beginning as a core competency that products and solutions need in order to deliver high performance and productivity in real-world work environments. Our products are manufactured using strict security protocols to safeguard against the possibility of tampering. They are assembled in highly secure, at third party facilities, company-owned-and-operated facilities, using components from vendors that are selected and managed as part of a secure supply chain process with high standards control and visibility of the chain of custody at all stages.

Industries and security experts claim that they have better products and cutting-edge technologies. However, we still witness increasing number of cyber-attacks across the globe including India. Where do you think are the cyber-security experts lacking in?

There is no absolute program that can fully protect you from cyber-security threats, and not even the top security companies in the world would make such a promise. However, we believe security should be a well-thought-out end-to-end process from the point when the product is developed, to extending security updates and support throughout the lifecycle of the product. Additionally, the providers’ staff should be well-trained and certified in security training to ensure they have adequate skills to handle different types of security breaches encountered by their customers.

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From CXO perspective, how do you involve other c-suite executives in the conversation since security should be a concern for everyone?

With digital transformation becoming increasingly pervasive, companies are left more susceptible to cyber-attacks. And as threats become more sophisticated, CXOs are increasingly vigilant to safeguard customer data, intellectual property, financials and other critical assets. According to A.T Kearney report 2018, more than 85% of companies have experienced a cyber breach from 2015 to 2018. While cybersecurity is a top challenge for CXOs, only about 39% of the 400 executives and board members surveyed have fully developed and implemented a cyber defense strategy. Security starts as a commitment at the top, and this should be a topic that is viewed with utmost importance by any enterprise.

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What is Zebra’s future growth/expansion plans in the next 5 years.

From a growth perspective, the future looks positive for us with plenty of opportunities to tap on, as more than 80% of manufacturers have plans to implement just-in-time operations over the next 5 years. Meanwhile, the global healthcare system is facing significant challenges like staff shortage, rising costs and life-threatening medical errors, which sees healthcare providers turning to our technology to improve patient safety, increase staff workflow efficiency, and comply with new regulations.

Over the next 5 years, we are expected to evolve into a broader solutions player, being less dependent on hardware sales and retailing more software-based solutions. As our core business remains healthy, it is expected to continue growing to give us the ability to invest in new solutions.

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