This Year’s Gartner Symposium ITxpo Had Risk Written All Over It

This Year’s Gartner Symposium ITxpo Had Risk Written All Over It

Gartner Symposium Booth 547.

As the 2014 Gartner Symposium ITxpo draws to a close, I must admit it was one of the most stimulating, thought provoking symposiums I’ve seen. As advertised, the sold out show brought together over 8500 participants with 3000 CIOs to hear outstanding speakers from throughout the industry. What struck me, however, was the fact that each industry speaker provided a perspective based on a personal, but narrow point of view. The most intriguing aspects of the Symposium are the Gartner analysts themselves and the thousands of hours of exposure they have to wide vistas of the technology industry’s evolution.

This year’s focus on the long term impact of the Digital Business Economy, and the resulting short term actions that need to be taken, was enlightening. Still, as visionaries, Gartner can teeter on the gap between expectations and reality. In other words, while I can’t deny that what they are predicting will eventually come true, I do have some difficulty in agreeing with the timeline.

Gartner defines digital business as "new business designs that blend the virtual world and the physical world, changing how processes and industries work through the Internet of Things". For the consumer and the corporate executive, this means greater expectations and reliance on the concept that all the devices around us will be smarter, more helpful, and ultimately essential.

Gartner Symposium Predications

According to Peter Sondergaard, Senior Vice President at Gartner and Global Head of Research, "this year enterprises will spend over $40 billion designing, implementing and operating the Internet of Things. Every piece of equipment, anything of value, will have embedded sensors.
That means asset-intensive enterprises will have over half a million IP addressable objects in 2020." At these words, undoubtedly hackers around the world began thinking of all the wonderful possibilities…

There is no getting around how convenient it will be to have my refrigerator order groceries for me–assuming it’s not a vegetarian–or have my corporate BYOD personal assistant send flowers to my wife on our anniversary even when I forget. But there is a high component of risk involved in the world Gartner is envisioning. So it’s not surprising to me that in their study Flipping to Digital Leadership: the 2015 CIO Agenda (based on responses from 2,810 CIOs, representing more than $397 billion in CIO IT budgets in 84 countries), 89% of CIOs see this digitalization as carrying different and higher levels of risk than they’re used to and 69% also worry that risk management best practice is not keeping up with the rise of digital…ya think? Personally, I’d like to hear from the 31% who believe they are keeping up with the risk management…

To their credit, Gartner sees a significant rise in the number of corporate Regulatory Analysts, and enterprise Risk Professionals over the next seven years to meet this issue. My question is "where will they come from?" Corporate IT security personnel are already in high demand and short supply. However, since the primary thesis of this year’s event is the increasing reliance on digital tools, the answer has to be in more automated and ultimately "smart" security solutions. That doesn’t necessarily mean a sea change in identity and access management inside the corporation, because we are already preparing for enhanced risk management as IAM solutions become more user-centric. But it does mean a tidal wave of more tools and "things" that will need close monitoring for proper access and use. It is one of the primary reasons we made the decision some time ago that risk mitigation and intelligence must be at the heart of every product we bring to market. It is one of the things we hear over and over from people who visit our booth. Our Risk Radar, for example, is an automated alert that assists with real time risk-based decision making during access and service requests, and corresponding approval processes. Will this get smarter, more self-aware, and "intelligent"? Of course. That’s not a matter of "if" but a factor of "when". Watch this space, as they say.

Of course, I’ve only had a chance to dip your toe in the giant pool of information that filled this year’s Gartner Symposium. I could go on and you could learn more by stopping by booth 547…but I have to leave the keyboard to make a list of things my refrigerator will never order…

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Written by Gary Thompson

Gary Thompson is a 35 year veteran of the PR industry. He was the president of Shandwick International, the world’s largest agency with 2000 people in 90 offices and 32 countries. A million mile flyer on both American and United, he got off the road at the “encouragement” of his wife. Four years ago, he founded his own firm, Clarity Communications, which counts Avatier as one its most successful clients.