Laptops will need to support growing AI and security priorities, says Lenovo


Person using a laptop with security logo

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With organizations now prioritizing artificial intelligence (AI) and cybersecurity, personal work devices should be built to support these requirements. 

Work laptops, for instance, should have firmware that is robust and secure, said Nima Baiati, Lenovo’s global executive director and general manager of commercial security. Noting that the firmware or BIOS could pose a significant threat if vulnerabilities are left unaddressed, Baiati said it is a critical component that Lenovo works to continuously enhance. 

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To do that, the hardware manufacturer is turning to AI and its expertise in supply chain management to address some of these challenges, he told ZDNET. New features from this focus will be rolled out over the next one to two years, though, he declined to divulge details on what these may be. 

Instead, he pointed to a cybersecurity innovation center Lenovo opened in Israel in February, which would help the vendor explore how AI can be tapped in areas not traditionally used from a security standpoint. 

And with generative AI potentially introducing new security risks, including lowering the threshold for cybercriminals to launch attacks, organizations will need solutions to safeguard against such threats. 

Also: These experts are racing to protect AI from hackers

Work devices also will need to provide more compute power, especially with the growing use of cloud-based AI applications, he said. Organizations increasingly are opting to build their own cloud infrastructures to support these processes, so they can gain scale, flexibility, and security. This, however, can significantly drive up spending.

To help mitigate its costs, Lenovo is looking at how to improve efficiencies, such as compute power. Ensuring low latency is critical when some of the AI processing, as adoption grows, will have to be done on the device itself, rather than on the cloud, Baiati noted. 

As it is, machine learning, AI, and analytics are among the most urgent priorities for businesses. 

Some 43% of CIOs expressed “urgent pressure” to address AI and machine learning as a priority, just below 51% who pointed to cybersecurity, according to a Lenovo report. The survey polled 682 CIOs across nine global markets including China, Singapore, India, the UK, Germany, and the US. 

AI and machine learning, as well as data management and analytics, were the top priorities for 43% of the CIOs in China. Some 34% pointed to cybersecurity as their most urgent priority. 

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In India, security was a top priority for 62% of CIOs, as well as for 51% of their counterparts in Singapore. AI and machine learning was the second most urgent priority in Singapore, cited by 42% of CIOs. The technology did not rank the top three in terms of priority for IT leaders in India, where data privacy was the second most urgent priority at 46%, followed by data management and analytics at 43%. 

To alleviate customers’ security concerns, Lenovo applies a “zero trust” approach to the device’s supply chain, embedding features that help organizations validate hardware components used in the laptop, Baiati said. These tools safeguard both software and hardware in these devices against tampering, he added.

And with 75% of data expected to be generated outside of data centers by 2025, robust connectivity on personal work devices also will be essential, according to Lenovo Singapore’s general manager Nigel Lee. 

5G-enabled laptops, for example, will ensure users can have seamless connection to the cloud, Lee said. 

“With hybrid work firmly entrenched in Singapore, innovation that supports employee productivity and mobility is now top of mind for IT leaders,” he said. No longer just about maintenance, IT products and services must facilitate this for businesses. 

The Lenovo executive was speaking at the launch of the vendor’s range of 5G-enabled eSIM business laptops. 

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