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Is IT Becoming All Business?


What does it say about a company that has a vice president of information technology? Given that business management is assimilating control of informations systems, or at least exerting intractable pressure over IT budgets and agendas, it may say that the company is living in the past.

The encroachment of “the business side” on “the IT side” has been growing for years. The evolving responsibilities and expectations of the CIO’s role are testament to that. It’s interesting that business influence has kicked into a higher gear more recently because of technical influences, those being the cloud, BYOD and mobility. IT was reticent to deal with them. Business embraced them with a passion. Many CIOs were surprised by it all.

A blog at Cisco’s Technology News site entitled “What Might it Take to Be a Chief Security Officer in 2014?” explores the need for more business smarts to augment technical know-how in the face of these new demands and challenges. Blog author Jason Deign describes very succinctly what is certainly a daunting responsibility: “[CSIOs will] need to embrace and manage change and understand how to collaborate, through information and intelligence sharing, within an increasingly complex and restricting compliance environment.”

Where the security of data is concerned, the cloud-BYOD-mobility combination can be like the Bermuda Triangle for a CSIO ─ a place where critical corporate data can disappear without a trace and leave the company exposed to liability on a number of fronts. Much of the focus to date has been on managing the device so that if it is lost, stolen or hacked, proprietary corporate data remains safe. Recently, however, attention has turned from device protection back to where it belongs … securing the data, not the device.

As the cloud increasingly factors into all aspects of computing, storage and security, security professional are looking to cloud-hosted desktops. This can be a very effective approach to gleaning the business benefits enable by BYOD and mobility, while also mitigating the security threats they represent.

Cloud-delivered desktops separate the access device (tablet, smart phone, laptop, etc.) from corporate applications and data. Install the app that links the home device with the cloud. From there, everything runs on the centralized, well-managed, well-protected infrastructure. The data remains in the cloud and not on the device.

If this was the only concern of business-minded/technically competent CSIOs, they would be able to sleep much better at night. Not so lucky. One of the many professionals commenting in the Cisco blog offered up this endorsement of the role: “The [CSIO] has to find that balance between creating and sustaining a secure environment, whilst also enabling end-users to work unhindered. This fine line that they walk is why they are often the most unloved person within an organization.”

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Used with the permission of http://thenetwork.cisco.com/ .

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