2009 IT security forecast

As 2008 – a year in which a record number of data breaches occurred and over 22 million records were compromised – comes to a close, Utimaco has unveiled the top economic, legislative and technical trends that it feels will drive the IT security market in 2009. Utimaco predicts that despite advanced technologies, in-depth solutions and increased regulations, protecting intellectual property and critical data will remain a major issue in 2009.

1) New technologies like cloud computing, virtualization, and Software-as-a-Service will demand stronger security
In 2008, adoption of cloud computing, virtualization and SaaS drove the sharing of corporate data in never-before-seen ways, resulting in both the immediate exchange of information and increased vulnerabilities for companies. While businesses will continue to reap the business benefits of cloud computing and SaaS in 2009, more powerful encryption policies and technologies will be necessary to safeguard data wherever it may lie.

2) Expanded data security legislation will drive need for encryption
Although data breach disclosure legislation has been in place in many states for some time, 2009 will usher in a new wave of legislation that will forever change the way an organization handles customer and employee information, intellectual property and other sensitive data. This year saw the passing of aggressive data protection legislation by Nevada and Massachusetts and as we head into 2009, other states are sure to follow with similar encryption mandates. And, organizations of all sizes, from all industries, will be forced to take notice. In fact, as recently as last week, The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission warned executives at registered financial services firms that they must maintain their compliance programs despite undertaking cost-cutting measures and cutbacks should not expose investors, employees and management to unacceptable risks.

3) Identity theft will continue to adversely affect customer loyalty
Every time customers’ personal information is put at risk, loyalty is jeopardized. The loyalty of customers is directly linked to companies’ ability to safeguard their information. In the year ahead, companies must assure their customers that proper, thorough security measures have been taken so that the risk of a breach is minimal.

4) Hard disk encryption will become more accessible for small and medium enterprises
Gone are the days of handling multiple vendors, operating various solutions and struggling to manage and budget for all IT security needs. Through better integration, product simplification and SaaS, 2009 will provide smaller enterprises easier access to hard disk encryption software. 2009 will usher in a wave of bundled solutions for the mid-market that will address hard disk encryption, antivirus, encryption and DLP needs.

5) IT security investments will provide return—especially in the downturn
Mounting job losses in 2009 will place data at risk if the devices of departing employees are not properly encrypted. Economic downturns frequently lead to disgruntled employees potentially leaving with data, competitive espionage, and increased liability claims. As a result, the security spending that was once considered discretionary will not only become necessary, but also a smart, worthwhile investment.

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