3 high-priority topics for 2014

IT leaders are often too buried in day-to-day issues to take time to determine upcoming IT priorities. Fortunately, help has arrived.


“The sheer amount of data is forcing IT departments to look beyond traditional techniques such as encryption.”

The top priorities facing IT leaders in 2014 may not be big surprises. What may surprise you is the speed at which emerging technologies are maturing. You need to move quickly to build a foundation that can support innovation. Do not spend time patching ailing systems. If you want to differentiate yourself from the competition, invest in the following three priorities:

  1. Data security and privacy
    A single security breach can cost a company a fortune in network fixes, legal liabilities, lost customers, and reputation. Protecting data is not a new priority for IT leaders. But the challenges of safe guarding data security and privacy are more complex than ever and are in a constant state of flux. 
    The sheer amount of data is forcing IT departments to look beyond traditional techniques such as encryption. More comprehensive solutions like data masking can address more complicated data privacy requirements. Enterprise borders are also becoming less defined. The rapid rise of cloud and mobile computing is shifting the focus from perimeter-based to data-centric security strategies. 
    To address these challenges, IT leaders are auditing how they manage and preserve their data. IT leaders are probing into how and when data is created, how data is used and integrated with applications, and what processes are required to assure data integrity. The answers are prompting IT leaders to review and refresh their data security plans. And they are working closely with legal and internal security teams to establish comprehensive data security plans.
  2. Mobile management
    Today’s IT leaders are under unprecedented pressure to make the BYOD (bring your own device) trend work for their organizations. After all, companies that let employees use their personal laptops, tablets, and smartphones to connect with colleagues via corporate networks can significantly enhance productivity, boost employee satisfaction, and attract new recruits. 
    Forward-looking IT leaders are planning beyond just securing devices. They are taking steps to secure the information stored and swapped on these mobile devices. Instead of blocking access to company networks and enforcing restrictive policies, savvy CIOs are discovering new approaches to mobile security. 
    For example, some companies are maintaining a separate network where employees who use company-issued devices have full access. Meanwhile, workers who want to use their own devices are restricted to a second secure network that offers limited access to more sensitive data. The trick is balancing the risks of BYOD while continuing to satisfy employee preferences.
  3. Analytics tools
    Business intelligence (BI) and analytics tools once had complicated and robust platforms. But the landscape is fast evolving from one-size-fits-all solutions to a wide array of increasingly agile systems. In fact, according to Gartner, worldwide BI software revenue will reach USD$13.8 billion in 2013, a 7 percent increase from 2012. The company is forecasting that the market will grow to USD$17.1 billion by 2016. Technologies are driving the renewed surge in analytics. Cutting-edge visualization tools promise increased visibility into business processes. Cloud computing facilitates cost-effective deployment, and Hadoop provides for greater scalability. 
    While it can be tempting to jump on the analytics bandwagon, it’s crucial that IT leaders carefully consider the real business reasons for embracing analytics. If executed properly, analytics can identify brand new business opportunities. There are a couple things that can derail your efforts, however. Most significantly, confirm your employees have access to clean and accurate data in the first place. And second, make sure to incorporate change management best practices to prevent employee morale from detracting from your efforts.
  4. Learn more about protecting sensitive data and enhancing regulatory compliance in this data privacy video.

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