Technology Priorities Are Still Consolidation and Security

When I’m researching hot trends in technology, I like to look across “the pond” and include our European colleagues in the mix. From Google’s new phone service to the adoption of cloud computing, I often want to see if new offerings are catching on outside the USA before I believe a trend will last. What I find interesting is that the more things change, the more they seem to stay the same.

For example, back in 2005, Forrester Research identified security and consolidation as the top two IT priorities for European Enterprises.  In a research report commissioned by Brocade that was just released in September, 2010, security and consolidation are again two of the top three priorities for European CIOs. While this research may not surprise you, I think it is pretty important. Why: you ask?

I’ve lost count of the number of senior IT executives who have told me that IT security has peaked over the past five years. Their view: security has had its turn, and now it’s time to move on to … something else.  (I could provide a long, controversial list of aspiring tech priorities, but I won’t go there.)

I know, I know, you’re probably thinking: “But what about smart phones, or the smart grid, or the smart … (whatever).” Won't they steal the tech shows?   And then we read articles like this one which forecast that 15% of smart grid spending will be on cyber security.  Or, the hot segment of smart phone markets will be, you guessed it, security. If you look even farther across the globe, you will see articles like this one from Australia which now predicts that the enterprise security market is set for strong growth.

 No doubt, things have changed over the past five years, but the consumerization of IT and the need to implement end-to-end security as cloud computing evolves will ensure a top place for security five years from now, in my opinion.

OK, skeptics say. If you describe security as an essential component of every technology offering, I agree that security stays on top of the list for the next decade. But security will become “built in.” Haven't you read that Intel just bought McAfee?  Yes, I know about Intel, but be careful before you label security as just another ingredient within technology. Remember the people, process and technology elements of security.

My view is that we’ll always have bad guys that we'll battle in cyberspace. We haven't outgrown bank robbers in the past hundred years. History tells us that Internet banking and other online transactions will attract those who will break laws for personal financial gain. While I'm optimistic about the future, there will continue to be a dark side to the Internet and malware storms in "the cloud."

Bottom line, look for security to stay hot. And by the way, consolidation needs security too.

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