TrendUnisys: Technology "consumerization," mobility risks key drivers of security investments

Published 18 February 2009

A Unisys briefing says that the growing pervasiveness of technology consumerization and mobility opens businesses to new risks across a broader spectrum; economy compels greater need for collaboration, more intelligent systems, and better fraud prevention; biometric use and acceptance also to increase

The “consumerization” of technology and the blurring of boundaries between personal and professional use of computers, sophisticated mobile phones, and other devices, may be a boon to consumers — but a big head ache for IT security managers. The trend is forcing enterprises to rethink how they assess risk and protect data, according to security experts at Unisys Corporation (NYSEUIS).

The Unisys briefing notes that, at the same time, an increasingly mobile society and more mainstream uses for social networking sites create new potential security risks as the consumerization of technology continues to change the way people work and live. These converging trends will cause organizations to take a more integrated view of their security across all channels within and outside of their extended enterprises, as well as consider new uses for advanced solutions such as biometrics.

Unisys sees the following issues as security technology priorities:

  • Consumer mobility, social networking, and cloud computing will become more significant factors in how organizations determine security investments.
  • Faster, and more intelligent security systems that correlate and interpret information from multiple sources (including converging physical and data security), will become more prevalent, with economic pressures underscoring the need to break down silos among information systems.
  • Lingering troubles for financial institutions will likely constrain resources and create the potential for greater risk of financial fraud schemes.
  • Organizations worldwide will increase deployment of biometric identification technologies as consumer acceptance grows.

Consumer mobility, social networking force new thinking in risk assessment
The increasing consumerization of technology creates more access points for data protection, requiring a more end-to-end view of risk, and encouraging greater collaboration by security professionals across various public and private enterprises. Chris Hoff, security architect in the Systems & Technology practice at Unisys, and expert in mobility, virtualization and cloud computing, said:

An example of the changing face of technology adoption is the tech-savvy Obama administration. Its dependence upon social networking, email and text messages to communicate directly with the world stage means we’ll see even faster adoption and new uses for these technologies…and with that comes new risks. A more connected society will drive greater focus on how various enterprises can work together to share information and better mitigate emerging data and physical security threats.

Advances such as cloud computing — in which computing services are provided via the Internet to a broad range of users — will further democratize technology and prompt more risk reassessment. The briefing notes that as boundaries