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Taking Flight - Celebrating Airline Technology on National Aviation Day

 

According to the FAA, every day there are more than 44,000 flights and 2.7 million airline passengers that make the journey across air space. To power these airplanes, it takes a variety of technologies such as machine learning, big data, analytics, software development teams and layers of cybersecurity protection. 

In honor of today being National Aviation Day, a variety of industry experts have commented on the role technology plays in allowing us all to take flight each day.

Orion Cassetto, director, product marketing, Exabeam

"Every month, there are 1,000 cyberattacks across the air transport industry. At the same time, just 35 percent of airlines and 30 percent of airports believe they are prepared to deal with cyber threats today. The industry is constantly innovating to stay ahead of the technology curve, but these innovations are actually creating new vulnerabilities.

Customer experience is paramount in an industry as competitive and prone to issues as air travel. To deliver a great experience, airlines are implementing emerging technologies, from mobile apps to mood lighting and entertainment systems. From purchasing a ticket, to using miles to upgrade, to making a connection, more data than ever is being used to protect passenger privacy and keep departures on time.

An area that's less visible to passengers is the activity monitoring and data collection airlines conduct across a wide range of applications. This information is used to improve operations that impact every stage of the journey. 

Machine learning, big data and analytics are all being used to gather data and set a baseline of normal behavior, which makes threats and anomalous behavior easier and faster to identify. Systems that can detect and escalate unusual patterns and help pinpoint event timelines provide deep insight on security events that may be the source of the anomalies. Gaining access to that insight before something happens is critical because it allows officials to stop problems before they start," said Orion Cassetto, director, Product Marketing, Exabeam

Setu Kulkarni, vice president, strategy & business development, WhiteHat Security

"The Cathay Pacific and Air Canada data breaches were clear warning signs for the airline industry to take ‘digital safety' as seriously as they take aviation safety. Despite increasing dependence on new technology for both internal processes and customer-facing applications, airlines have been slow to embrace the level of security needed to protect those systems.

Airlines encourage travelers to use mobile apps and kiosks for checking into flights and accessing digital boarding passes, but this convenience introduces new cyber risks that can lead to real privacy and safety consequences. Airlines need to model their security endeavors around the hundreds of thousands of travelers who trust them to protect the private information they share in order to fly.

To mitigate risk, the airline industry must view the entire IT estate as a vulnerable asset. Comprehensive security programs protect all points of entry, including APIs, network connections, mobile apps, websites and databases; provide proper security training and education to staff; foster collaboration between development and security teams, and regularly test software assets for vulnerabilities," said Setu Kulkarni, vice president, strategy & business development, WhiteHat Security

Bob Davis, CMO, Plutora

"Over 2.5 million passengers fly in and out of U.S. airports everyday, and they rely on the software of major airlines to keep them up to date on flight status and where their luggage will eventually end up. But few realize that they are also relying on software for the safety of their journeys.

Today, in every airline large or small, software updates help keep planes safely in the air, but updates can't be successful if they can't be done at scale. Scaling a software solution in any large enterprise is a difficult task -- and for industries with as much on the line as the airline industry, failure can be catastrophic. The price of failure is compounded by the nature of the industry, but the problem is the same across all industries. 

Overcoming issues of scaling software development in a world of multiple complex deliveries is a problem that exists everywhere. The fact remains that all enterprises need to understand that getting your software right means getting your business right, and if they don't, they will fail," said Bob Davis, CMO, Plutora

Steve Blow, technology evangelistZerto

"There may be no other industry that is so heavily regulated or impacted by outages than the airline industry - and for good reason. Real lives, safety, security, money, time and emotions are on the line 24/7/365, and dependent on near-perfect operations and uptime. No matter how big or small a system failure is, it's important that airlines be able to cope.  IT failures have severe business implications, ranging from frustrated customers, to damaged brand reputation, to not being able to execute revenue generating operations.

Yet, regrettably, issues arise every day and flights are forced to ground operations after experiencing system-wide computer outages in the planes. Not to mention, reservation systems outages that impact airlines and travellers around the world. The difference between being down for hours or days versus minutes or seconds is the difference between a solid disaster recovery plan and one that is outdated, barely tested or even non-existent.

IT can be exceptionally complex in the airline industry and many organizations may feel hopeless when faced with the idea of revamping their IT resilience strategy. However, they don't have to feel that way. With the simplicity and affordability provided by cloud-based advancements, disaster recovery systems are now widespread. And while some outages are out of airlines' control, much more can be done to ensure they are less vulnerable from an IT perspective. Airlines do not have to accept outages as a cost of doing business," said Steve Blow, Technology Evangelist, Zerto

Lex Boost, CEO, Leaseweb USA

"Aviation has been part of Leaseweb since day one. While working as professional pilots, our founders understood the importance of reliability and global connections and brought with them the directive of a captain-‘sit back, relax, and enjoy the flight'. When you're sitting on a flight, getting ready to take-off, that's one of the things you'll hear the captain say, and Leaseweb carries that same ethos. Pilots have to be aware of their surroundings, be precise and use their experience to resolve any problem. This could mean the difference between a pleasant flight (smooth, secure connection) and one that could put others at risk (vulnerable, unreliable connection). Leaseweb provides high-quality cloud hosting services, allowing our clients to focus on the important aspects of their business while we steer the flight," said Lex Boost, CEO, Leaseweb USA.
Published Monday, August 19, 2019 3:33 PM by David Marshall
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