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
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
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
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.