Security Always Will be a Top Priority for IT
Every time I have a conversation with a CIO or an IT executive I ask them the same question: What keeps you up at night? Undoubtedly, the answer always involves security. The threat of an organized hack, DoS, Trojan Horse, Virus, Worm, Logic Bomb or some other breach causes CIO insomnia.
Sure, when we talk about future IT investments and current operational efforts the conversation tends to focus on cloud computing environments, mobile device integration and social media exploits. And when you read any major research report about IT spending, the biggest growth areas going forward usually are these three, with business analytics sometimes thrown in.
But security is the underlying IT spending concern across all corporations, regardless of size and industry. And that is not going to change anytime soon. It may not be growing as fast as mobile or tablet adoption investments, but it will continue to grow, especially as organizations embrace these new computing platforms and hosted environments. Without securing these areas, any IT endeavor ultimately will fail and the company’s business will be at serious risk.
Solution providers, while gaining expertise in these high-growth areas, also must ensure they are able to secure their customers or they won’t keep them very long. Security is at the core of all IT investments.
Malicious hackers and spammers are always trying to stay one step ahead of security technologies and protocols. As new technologies continue to be adopted on a mass scale, it opens new areas of potential attacks. An organization’s network, systems and critical data are only as secure as their weakest link — from the network to device point of access — and their CIOs know it.
I was talking recently with Steve Brown, CIO of hospitality bellwether Carlson, which operates such well-known brands as Radisson, Park Plaza, Country Inns & Suites and TGI Friday’s, just to name a few. Being in the hotel business, the company deals with a lot of confidential customer data. It also is a franchisor and is constantly upgrading systems and protocols at the franchise level.
Brown said the company spent has quite a bit of money in the past few years making sure its computer environment was secure at the brand level and at the franchisee level. But regardless of the past investments, Brown realizes the company’s IT security investment is an ongoing project that really has no end.
“It’s never going to be perfectly secure for long,” said Brown. “People who want to do ill will are always getting more sophisticated.”
Carlson is concentrating on continuously securing the end points at the hotel level and making sure that any breach at that point does not infiltrate other locations or the brand’s systems, Brown said. And while the company is investing in mobile application development and integration and has started moving certain functions to the cloud, it is security that is its top priority for 2013, he said.
Supporting this, industry research and consulting firm RNCOS issued a report titled, “Global IT Security Market Forecast to 2013,” in which it noted that although IT spending budgets have decreased in most countries due to the worldwide recession, an increase in cyberattacks has caused organizations to boost spending on their IT infrastructure.
So on your way to offering cloud-based and hosted services, mobile device management and even social media ROI initiatives, don’t ignore the security component.
Knock em alive!