GUEST COLUMN: CA Technologies' top tech predictions for 2011

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Companies realize the promise of cloud; security evolves from cloud barrier to cloud enabler

by Kenneth Arredondo, SVP and general manager, CA Technologies Latin America

Today, security is still viewed as the biggest barrier to cloud adoption. Organizations struggle with the confidence that they or their cloud provider can adequately secure their data and use of the cloud. However, this perception is likely to change this year as stronger, more advanced security options are deployed as cloud services from organizations that specialize in security. CA Technologies (Nasdaq: CA) today released its technology predictions for 2011, many of which forecast that in the upcoming year, companies of all sizes will begin to realize the promise of the cloud.

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About every 15 years there is a major inflection point in technology, when a powerful set of technology enablers meets a compelling set of business needs. From the mainframe in the mid-1960s to the microprocessor in the early 1980s, and on to the start of the internet era in 1995. Today's inflection point is cloud computing.

"While 2010 may have been the year of cloud talk, 2011 is the year of cloud action," said Ajei Gopal, executive VP, Technology and Development Group, CA Technologies.

"Cloud computing is changing the way business operates and the way the IT functions. IT is no longer a back-room activity, but rather a major business enabler shaping every aspect of how an organization operates. As a matter of fact, CA Technologies believes the top tech trends for 2011 will combine to create a new era in IT... the 'Consumerization' of IT. Additionally, one of the biggest barriers to cloud adoption, security, will be a concern of the past, as identity and access management capabilities such as advanced authentication and fraud prevention, single sign-on, identity governance and others are offered as a cloud service."

Following are CA Technologies predictions for the top tech trends in 2011:

1. Clouds will reign

It is not just an incremental advance in IT; cloud computing represents a paradigm shift in the IT industry and for how technology will transform business. In 2010, there was a lot of talk about cloud computing. In 2011, the talk will become a reality, and cloud computing will begin to become the predominant way that organizations operate - either via public, private or hybrid clouds. Organizations will uncover realistic, practical uses that give them the flexibility and speed they require to better meet the fast-changing needs of the business. Service providers will prove to be the guidepost for enterprises, as IT pros look to them for lessons learned.

Additionally, the role that technology plays within the enterprise will shift as cloud computing takes hold. IT will now become a major business driver and become vital to how the business functions - from operations and sales to branding. The new role of the CIO will be to strategically manage an IT supply chain, pulling in resources as needed - everything from complete applications to massive amounts of cloud-based processing capacity and data storage. Increasingly, the IT department's role will be less about hands-on technology management and more about bringing together business and IT governance. At the same time, you can expect non-technical executives and managers to become more deeply involved in technology.

2. Consumerization of IT... "To the cloud"

The groundswell of consumer technology is taking over the enterprise. The business now wants speed, choice, and secure and agile technology at its fingertips. The cloud, virtualization and mobile devices are making this possible. The IT professional will need to move quickly to provide the necessary infrastructure and services that its users increasingly demand.

3. Identity and access management as a cloud service will shift security perception from cloud barrier to cloud enabler

Organizations will change their perception of cloud security as stronger, more advanced security options are deployed as cloud services from organizations that specialize in security. This specialization provides a level of security that most organizations cannot reach on their own. In doing so, it increases security confidence and makes security an enabler of cloud adoption. For example, identity and access management capabilities such as advanced authentication and fraud prevention, single sign-on, identity governance and others are offered as a cloud service. They are more easily adopted, deployed and managed by both growing enterprises and very large enterprises, and they give users the confidence that they can control who has access to what.

4. Mainframe becomes part of cloud strategies

With its proven security, reliability and processing power, the mainframe will begin to play a role in cloud computing initiatives. Given the hybrid architecture of IBM's new zEnterprise hardware, and the demand by businesses to move away from siloed management to improve services uptime, we will also begin to see a blurring of the lines between mainframe and distributed platform use on the application side.

5. Smart devices will displace laptops

The consumerization of IT also means that smart mobile devices, such as tablets and iPads, will start displacing laptops as the device of choice for employees. While many enterprises have tried to slow the deployment of these devices, user demand has been too strong to resist. As a result, technology and services will be delivered differently and there will be an array of new IT challenges, specifically security and authentication, to manage.

6. Automation is the secret weapon

Most CIOs are still working with budgets that remain flat, or are even down. Meanwhile virtualization deployments require more skills, more people, faster cycle times and fewer errors to overcome virtual stall and be successful. Automation is the only way to deal with this conflict, accelerate virtualization and build an efficient, cost-effective, dynamic data center. It is also essential to cloud computing. The momentum behind virtual infrastructure automation, and virtual service automation, will therefore continue to gather steam - and deliver results - throughout 2011. It may even overshadow virtualization itself as one of the hottest topics in IT.

7. Insider security threats surge

The insider will be the next security attack vector for the enterprise. The insider is a direct line to corporate data that is high quality, valuable and lucrative. As companies continue to have better and more sophisticated security, it will become easier to socially engineer someone on the inside than to continually create new malware. Now, with companies opening up social networking sites and increasing employee mobility, there will be more access points to sneak out classified information. Organizations will begin using behavioral analysis to predict threats from the inside.

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