Security, virtualization lead 2009 tech plans

Security, server virtualization and business-related technologies top priority lists for 2009.

IT organizations consider security, server virtualization and business-related technologies a top priority for 2009, according to research released by The Society for Information Management.

SIM surveyed 300 member organizations in June and learned that the top five application and technology developments for the coming year include antivirus protection, business intelligence, business process management (BPM), continuity planning and disaster recovery, and server virtualization.

Jerry Luftman, SIM vice president for academic affairs and distinguished professor and associate dean at the Stevens Institute, said the highest ranking technologies reflect a few key issues on IT leaders' minds.

"Security was the top priority last year as well, but people are struggling with other areas such as business intelligence," he said.

To start, security via antivirus protection reflects IT's ongoing balancing act between enabling services while also protecting environments. IT organizations are also tasked with combating more varied threats than in the past. Kenneth Washington, chief privacy officer and vice president at Lockheed Martin, explained to attendees how people are hyperconnected via multiple devices today, which poses a challenge to security and privacy leaders tasked with securing networks.

"Attackers today are motivated by theft, profit and data and they are very patient," he told attendees at SIMposium 2008.

Business intelligence and BPM landed in the second and third spots on SIM's survey, the former of which Luftman said will continue to challenge IT organizations. He said business intelligence is "more complicated than previously envisioned and requires strong skills" that aren't readily available in the existing IT talent pool. BPM, on the other hand, is a top priority because of the cost-efficiencies and streamlined operations it could offer an IT organization.

"BPM is about IT being able to reduce costs and obviously that is top of mind," he added.

Fourth on the list, business continuity and disaster recovery, continues to be a priority for IT leaders, but the fifth entry -- server virtualization -- is new to SIM's top five application and technology developments list. "It's another area seen as having the potential reduce costs and improve services," Luftman said.

What's not on the list also sparked interested for SIM researchers. For instance, networking and communications technologies previously in the top five slipped down to the tenth priority. Wireless networking at the 25th position while mobile/wireless applications, VoIP and shared services experienced a three-way tie for the 29th spot on SIM's list.

"Network technologies were in the top five last year, but for 2009, they lost priority," Luftman said. "There are relevant technologies there and they are still being put in place, but it is not as hot as it was last year."

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