Security compliance and the cloud will help foster business innovation and borderless working in 2012

Opinion by Gavan Egan

More than ever before, 2012 will see global connections between people, machines and their environments shape the global business landscape and drive the future of work.

More than ever before, 2012 will see global connections between people, machines and their environments shape the global business landscape and drive the future of work. The future has never looked brighter for business and governments to employ technology to generate growth, solve industry challenges and enrich lives and our global society. Of course, with new technologies and new working models come new challenges, and security is a core part of this. Traditional security methods were built on the notion that the IT department was in full control of every application or device coming into the business. With cloud and the consumerisation of IT, this has changed and the security practices in place need to be adapted to suit the modern IT environment. Some key technology trends that we predict will impact businesses and their workers in 2012 include:

1 - Compliance gets increasingly commercial - With increasing evidence that companies are less likely to be data breach victims if they comply with security standards, such as those promoted by the Payment Card Industry (PCI) council, compliance will become a pre-requisite for good business practice in 2012.

In a difficult economic environment and with increasingly more stringent government regulations, the need for taking full advantage of business opportunities will increase interest in prudent, holistic security approaches.

Companies and governments will change how they interact with their extended network of partners, increasingly choosing to do business with those that can demonstrate a comprehensive multiyear and standards-based approach to security.

2 - The high-IQ network effect - With each new smart device or software application added to a network, all endpoints and devices will become inherently smarter, each benefiting exponentially from additional connections. Whether the connections are people-to-people, machine-to-people or machine-to-machine, new opportunities will be created to solve societal challenges such as employing IT to address the rising cost of health care or deliver smart energy solutions.

However, because of the network's importance, any security threat or interruption of service will have a profound impact. As a result, there will be an even greater demand for carefully designed and well-managed services at the core of the global IP backbone and high-speed wireless networks.

3 - To the enterprise cloud and back - As we begin to move away from the 'is cloud secure' scare-mongering, the enterprise cloud will finally come of age and deliver substantial benefits, dramatically reducing capital expenditures and creating business efficiencies and better economics.

Cloud services will give companies powerful new options to move workloads easily between the corporate data center and the cloud of a company's choice. Whether a public, private or hybrid cloud model, the enterprise cloud will play an essential role in mobilising enterprise apps that enable both workforce mobility and new business paradigms.

4 - The social enterprise - The already web-centric enterprise will become even more social and the ability to tap intelligence at all levels of the organisation will become the new norm. Of course, alongside this, organisations will need to adapt their security procedures to fit this new model but the potential benefits are clear.

With the right tools, such as high-definition video for richer collaboration and intelligent 'crowdsourcing', enterprises can produce, find and convey information with much less effort and greater velocity and efficacy than ever before. This will foster innovation and enhance productivity with exponential benefits.

5 - The consumerisation of IT - Just as personalisation is driving a new approach to customer service, IT departments are increasingly being influenced by their users. Many companies are now trying to improve the user experience and enhance productivity by tailoring their enterprise IT policies to support employees who bring their own devices - such as smartphones and tablets -- to the workplace.

Companies are now looking to experts to help equip today's mobile worker with cloud-based applications that work just as securely and reliably on portable devices and are integrated with traditional desktop applications.

Gavan Egan is director of security services at Verizon EMEA


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