Trends 1 and 2

By Guy Currier  |  Posted 2010-12-09 Print this article Print

Security is big, hyped technologies get gut checks, and promising ones roll full-steam ahead. Our third annual market survey of the technology trends shows what managers and executives see for the year ahead.

1 Security Roars Back

We’ve been concerned for some time about corporate vulnerabilities, as recession-driven spending cuts drove many organizations into a wait-and-see mode about information security. Well, perhaps Facebook has cured them of this complacency. Its numerous privacy breaches in 2010 created headlines, but in more general terms, the explosion of social networking use in the workplace has combined with increasing use of mobile technology as a source of risk to create renewed interest in security deployments for next year.

Nearly half of the organizations we surveyed are expecting significant investment in security in 2011, with the vast majority of them increasing their investments from 2010 levels. (See chart 1) There’s also marked interest in continuity initiatives, backed by significant support from executives and finance groups.

In a recent survey by Deloitte & Touche LLP, 36 percent of tech-exec respondents indicated that their companies had increased security budgets by up to 10 percent this year, and 10 percent of those respondents had increased these budgets by more than 10 percent.

But Irfan Saif, principal at Deloitte & Touche, suggests asking whether these designated budgets are enough. “The adoption of cloud computing, social media and mobility solutions is on the rise,” he says, “both in the enterprise and in consumer realms. These solutions introduce some new challenges from a security perspective.”

It’s clear from our survey respondents that North American business will be responding to security issues in 2011. Consider BGMX Retail Solutions, which faces the challenge of securing its enterprise operations while still using valuable social networking, Web 2.0 and smartphone tools—all of which can increase the potential for a virus/malware intrusion.

Based in Vestal, N.Y., this provider of retail IT solutions and services runs its operations on two networks with many remote clients, so security needs are a top priority. To meet these needs, the company is using SonicWAll network security appliances that provide application intelligence, control and visualization capabilities.

“Because of the architecture of our system, a centralized management system was put in place for our primary firewalls, as well as all of our customers’ firewalls in different areas of the country,” says Erin Desko, BGMX CTO. “I can monitor any firewall at any given time, change rules, see who is connected and apply changes—all from one screen—and not have to remember different IPs, log-in screens, etc. It now takes less time to ensure that everything is working correctly and allows more time to focus on our customers.”

Download Research article with charts

2 Business Intelligence Tops social media

In 2010, organizations recognized the enormous, valuable data resource social networking had unleashed. In 2011, they expect to takestock of this resource, making sure their analytics fall into line. The development of social networking and collaboration applications for the enterprise will continue: Roughly 30 percent of the organizations we surveyed expect new or increased deployment of each in 2011. (See chart 2) But the enthusiasm is for business analytics and knowledge management, where nearly two-thirds of new commitments are expected to be at a strong or very strong level.

Business intelligence (BI) systems are likely to see deployment growth: Our survey showed about 9 percent more organizations expecting significant deployments in 2011, compared with last year’s survey. And it’s high on end-users’ and finance’s wish lists. The driver of this interest seems to be the need to corral all these new, usually disorganized information sources.

“Some social networking techniques will clearly impact all users, and deployments will continue at their own pace—independent of corporate intent,” says Bill Bosler, CIO at Texas Consultants, which recently designed an ambitious BI tool as part of a new oil refinery project in the Middle East. “There will be plenty of action on the analytics side, crunching all the new real-time data collected by both new and traditional means, and anticipating and mitigating challenges before they occur.”

Executive Director of Research for Ziff Davis Enterprise

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