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Tech Trends in 2014: Actionable Insights For Your Career

By Ryan Fahey

There are many reasons to study tech trends, but one that really hits home is to consider the impact trends may have on your career.

Intense School recently spoke with Tracy Lenzner, founder and chief executive officer of LenznerGroup, a New York-based executive search firm, about this very subject. Lenzner is a thought-leader in the enterprise security, technology risk, privacy, and compliance arenas. Drawing from her 20+ years of recruitment experience across financial services, technology, healthcare, biotech, professional services, and the Internet space, Lenzner has some interesting perspectives about top trends.

What follows is an interview in which Lenzner comments on trends in the year that was, elaborates on trends for the year that is, and provides tips on how professionals and businesses can take full advantage of the trends that will unfold in 2014.

Q: Looking back at the year that was, what were some of the more prominent tech trends of 2013?

A: Last year marked an avalanche of game changers, from physical and digital worlds fusing, to tech innovation becoming mainstream by both business and consumers. At the same time, a nascent digital ecosystem increasingly became a platform for cyber criminals and terrorists around the world. As data breaches brought the U.S. and others countries much publicized and unwanted attention, network defenses proved vulnerable to a new breed of highly targeted and sophisticated cyber-attacks.

Q: In your opinion what are the Top 5 anticipated tech trends for 2014?

A: Cyber-security is now a global concern and key risk factor across most industries and organizations. 2014 marks a decade of major shifts within the tech and cyber security industry, fueled by Big Data, mobile, cloud computing, BYOD, and interconnected communities, bringing with it exponential change, complexity, advancement and risk.

According to Gartner’s recent IT Spending Forecast in 2014, IT spending will see a modest rebound to $3.8 trillion from 2013′s 3.7 trillion. Gartner predicts key IT spending will include:

  1. Gadgets—Device spending will increase to $697 billion from $669 billion.
  2. Big Data—Data center systems spending will rise to $143 billion from $140 billion.
  3. Global enterprise software spending will reach $320 billion from $300 billion.
  4. IT services spending will increase to $963 billion, compared to $922 billion from last year.

Based on the global IT spending forecast, world events, and cyber-trends, LenznerGroup’s top five InfoSec predictions are:

I. Consumerization—The cloud is expected to grow to $121 billion by 2015. Mobility, cloud, and BYO will dominate the technology and global marketplace. Security, interoperability, and user interface will be a major focus. Devices linked to Wi-Fi will be targets for exploitation, with Android and iPhone malware expected to rise. Digital security—and privacy to follow—will provide a new metric for products and services, and a competitive advantage or disadvantage.

II. ID and access management—Global awareness of data breaches, metadata, and advanced threats will require new encryption technologies, data classification initiatives, greater compliance, and enhanced controls. As consumers and organizations move to the cloud enterprise, there will be further dependence on apps. App quality and security access will become dominant, versus the device itself. Biometrics—voice, finger, and eye—will replace traditional passwords. Third-party cloud service providers (CSP), as well as provider relationships, will be scrutinized for their ability to safeguard data.

III. Enterprise collaboration—Enterprise software systems will continue to increase worldwide. Predictive analytics, data intelligence, and monitoring systems will be a tremendous growth market within the supply chain, as will front-end and embedded security systems. Software-defined everything is moving beyond technology, as organizations apply the concept to business models, including people, structure, and data.

IV: Global frameworks—New regulations, compliance, and risk frameworks, such as the new NIST Framework, will play a key role in most organizations. There will be a move from state privacy to federal privacy law. Consumer privacy, Internet law, education, and global policy will trend in-line with EU. In the U.S and sovereign nations, there will be serious discussion about updating rules of engagement concerning cyber-warfare, global policy, and related areas.

V. New delivery models—Established and start-up organizations will race to launch a range of new products and solutions, focused in-cloud security, mobile security, advanced threat detection, advanced behavioral detection, web and app security, to name a few. Security managed services will increase significantly this year, particularly as boards and companies seek 24/7 security operations, continuous monitoring, incident response, next-gen threat capability, and enterprise-wide strategy and delivery. Security domains [will] be established, with segregated and hybrid specializations among digital security professionals … Intelligent systems, aka “The Internet of Things,” will grow and create a major shift by year-end. Internet-connected devices will hit 25 billion by 2015 and reach 50 billion by 2020, predicts Cisco Systems’ Internet Business Solutions Group.

Q: How can IT/IS professionals and businesses best take advantage of these trends?

A: Today and [for the] foreseeable future, the transformation to centric interconnected systems, coupled with an emerging and advancing threat landscape, requires a highly trained, relevant, and secure workforce to protect us from today’s challenges and tomorrow’s unknowns. Resources to effectively identify, attract, train, and retain cyber-security leadership, management, and technical workforce remain limited, and will continue to escalate and [to be] sought worldwide.

Choose an area and become an expert across multiple venues, industries, and platforms. Keep expanding your qualifications and contributions, along with your CV. Regardless of your tenure, stay relevant and keep moving forward. Here are some absolutes: Stay abreast of your industry, including trends, business-technology changes, regulations, legislation and standards; meet business and technical leaders, peers, innovators, up and comers; mentor, become certified, earn an advanced degree or license; learn new technologies as well as skills to translate, communicate, and drive initiatives; become involved in projects, committees and media; implement new programs, systems, frameworks; be an enabler vs. a dinosaur. Set your plan; create a real-time strategy and goals. Continuously learn, grow, read, speak, write, collaborate, contribute… [G]et out there to meet, greet, and network with internal and external stakeholders – both in your personal life and career. At the end of the day, work harder, play, learn diplomacy, give back, and enjoy the journey.

As Lenzner explains, 2014 promises to be quite the journey for IT/IS professionals and businesses. Whether or not it’s a positive one, however, will depend on how they adapt to, and take advantage of, the trends.

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More Stories By Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley, former CTO of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), is Founder and CTO of Crucial Point LLC, a technology research and advisory firm providing fact based technology reviews in support of venture capital, private equity and emerging technology firms. He has extensive industry experience in intelligence and security and was awarded an intelligence community meritorious achievement award by AFCEA in 2008, and has also been recognized as an Infoworld Top 25 CTO and as one of the most fascinating communicators in Government IT by GovFresh.