5 Enterprise IT Predictions for 2014
David Gibson

Knowing where your enterprise’s data is stored is no longer optional.

Privacy and other laws vary from nation to nation. Businesses and their remote offices need to know which laws they must comply with, and those laws are in a state of flux in a number of large countries. In particular, U.S. companies doing business in Europe face the prospect of new challenges that will require more accurate knowledge of where their data, and their customers’ data, reside than most of them have today.

Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

The proliferation of personal cloud services and mobile device capability continues to put critical data in flight, beyond not only the walls but also the awareness of the enterprise. Making this even more urgent is the realization that some governments can (legally, it appears) access data stored in cloud services.

Within the enterprise, many employees have far more access to far more sensitive valuable data than they need to do their jobs, and which files they’re accessing and what they’re doing with them are rarely tracked or analyzed.

Each of these issues is distinct, with its own challenges. What they have in common is an imperative that begins with much more detailed knowledge of where files are stored and who has access to them.

We will begin a new debate about the role of government in the digital age.

As we saw decades ago with the transportation and telecommunications revolutions, governments can have constructive, helpful roles in accelerating the benefits of innovation and they can also impede progress and freedom with burdensome regulation.

Revelations about previously undisclosed U.S. efforts to monitor even its closest allies have spurred strong reactions around the world. In Brazil and elsewhere, there is serious discussion of closing the Internet within national boundaries, as China has done.

Will some governments respond to the heavy hand of others by trying to compete for digital business? What would make a country most attractive: a commitment not to spy on a business or its customers? Protection from would be hackers and digital thieves? Great connectivity, cheaper energy, lower taxes?

Balancing productivity and security will become an art form.

We will see a tipping point in 2014, due in part to growing privacy concerns and the continued rise in data breaches, as the lack of checks and balances begins to have a serious impact on businesses. In response, enterprises will place a high priority on solutions that provide security and control without compromising the user experience and productivity.

On one side of the equation, employees need to find, access and share whatever data they need, whenever they need it, with whomever they need to from any device. Anything that stops you from being productive is an obstacle, and the work around is often to go rogue with your personal email account or cloud sharing services, your own device, and/or your own MiFi network.

On the other side of the equation is the need to keep this data safe and under control. Only the right people should have access to it, they should be using it for its intended purpose, and it needs to be disposed of when no longer needed.

Knowing who can access what data, who actually is accessing it, and putting into place sensible controls for sensitive data without impeding the natural rise of digital collaboration from any device, will become one of the most valuable contributions IT can make to the enterprise.

Figuring out what you can archive and delete is going to get more difficult and more urgent.  

Google CEO Eric Schmidt pointed out that we create as much information in two days now as we did from the dawn of humanity through the year 2003. “The real issue is user generated content,” Schmidt said, pointing to pictures, instant messages, tweets and emails.

For the enterprise, human generated data is the most valuable and the most sensitive kind of data being created. It is growing faster than any IT budget, data center or cloud strategy can keep up with. Separating the wheat from the chaff is getting more difficult. If you can’t separate, you never know what you can delete. And if you can’t intelligently archive and delete, it’s going to get harder and harder to find the data you need.

Data owners have been put in charge. Now they want more insight.

A shift toward data centric security in the enterprise has already occurred, assigning owners for data assets is quickly becoming a standard best practice. These owners are now tasked with making decisions about their data that they’re uniquely qualified to make: who should and shouldn’t have access, what use is acceptable, where should it be stored, when can we delete it, and how can we get more out of it?

According to Gartner, “Information security is becoming a big data analytics problem.” Gartner explains: “To support the growing need for security analytics, changes in information security people, technologies, integration methods and processes will be required, including security data warehousing and analytics capabilities, and an emerging role for security data analysts within leading edge enterprise information security organizations.”

2014 will be the year that the forward-thinking enterprise looks to big data analytics technologies to make sense of their human generated data and help them make better, more informed decisions about it.


David Gibson has been in the IT industry for over fifteen years, with a breadth of experience in data governance, network management, network security, system administration, and network design. He is currently Vice President of Strategy at Varonis Systems, the leading provider of comprehensive data governance software. David holds many certifications, including CISSP. As a former a technical consultant, he has helped many companies design and implement enterprise network architectures, VPN solutions, enterprise security solutions, and enterprise management systems.