BY MARK SHAW
The year 2016 will be the year of security. Physical, virtual or cyber, it’s all about security. 2016 will be the year that security takes the stage in a major way.
After all the breaches of last year, companies big and small are being pushed to consider who has access to their data and how do they protect it. It will also be the year that organizations start to consider how they consume technology services and will demand the model bends to how they desire to use them. The IT service model will change from providing a set service list to one of al la` carte services. Clients will want it their way with a selection of services that meet their needs.
As small and large organizations alike continue to expand the use of technology, the cloud and the buzz word “internet of things” (or IoT), they are starting to consider the security implications of their decisions. Security is no longer the ability to provide a penetration test of the environment, list the items wrong and remedy them. That is old thinking in a new world.
Businesses will want a macro-level view of their security needs. They will want to know that their data and access to their networks are constantly monitored and any leak of information is not just detected but qualified and quantified. This holds true in both the physical and virtual world. Employee access to physical files, doors and offices will be monitored, documented and controlled. It will be critical in case of a breach to understand who had access to the file cabinets in a room and when were they last in there. This will be as important as understanding how a hacker gained access to a virtual system and took information. A company will expect that all the information of who, what, when, where and why will be available to them.
In the cyber world, organizations will want to know if an email left their systems with information that is confidential or contains personally identifiable information, or PII, know the cost of that potential breach and be prepared to respond accordingly.
This will put IT in direct connection with the insurance world. Once you can monitor, define the data leaving, and the potential exposure in terms of financial costs of that data, organizations will want to purchase coverage via a cyber insurance or cyber liability insurance plan that match the liabilities they have.
Having the right knowledge of the potential costs of exposure will allow organizations to right-size the policies and ensure that the proper coverage is in place. This is the 2016 technology outlook for many small businesses.
The way that businesses consume technology will continue to evolve. Long gone are the days when the leaders of a company trust a single resource to manage the growing complexity of today’s networks. In the same vain, long gone are the days of waiting for things to break and then rushing to fix them. Six Sigma, TQI, TQM, 5S , Kaizen and other management philosophies are taking over and demanding that IT take the same approach as all the other departments, fixing systems before they reach a point of failure.
Can you imagine waiting until bankruptcy to start cutting costs in your company? You would never do that, you would have controls and plans in place and be constantly monitoring cash flow. So why would you ever want to wait until your IT is broken before you fix it?
Using these concepts, organizations will want to pick the way service is delivered, be it a flat rate model in which everything is covered and the technology firms get paid to reduce downtime and increase planning, or a model of on-demand service where systems are monitored and decisions to act are left to the organizations leadership, and any hybrid mix. Technology firms must evolve to fit the client needs and not vice-versa, again long gone are the days of “buy this, trust me” or “call us if it breaks”.
Clients and organizations are more sophisticated buyers of technology and technology services. The right technology firms understand this and are ready to deliver.
Security in all its forms, tied with insurance policies that are tied to the actual liabilities will provide a changing climate for many small and medium businesses. Tie this to tech savvy business leadership and you have the makings of what is to be in 2016.
Toss in the ability to provide services that clients need, at the exact time they need them, measured to a way that fits their business model and you have the look of a modern technology firm.
In 2016, these two items will take the lead in the economics around technology in the coming year. After all, won’t you sleep better if you know you have the right technology, supported in the right way, with data secured properly and covered with an umbrella of insurance? That is technology nirvana for the new year that will give even the most hardened business owner a reason to smile.