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Q1 2018: What continues to be important to CIOs?

- CIO executive

As the first quarter of 2018 winds down, CIOs and IT leaders are looking at the strategies they mapped out for 2018 to see if they are on track for success. They continue to ask what are the biggest challenges they will face this year and how can they address those challenges?

We see a continued emphasis on data and corporate security throughout the year, given the continued failure of those measures in 2017 and into this year too. Last year’s data breach with Equifax is the latest example where the hackers were able to access the system through outdated versions of software components. Those components were serving sites that were no longer in active use in some cases and others that had simply failed to be upgraded beyond their initial deployment.

This highlights the need for a strong audit practice amongst IT teams. These audits need to cover three things: Infrastructure, Operating Systems/Support Software and Custom Software.

If we break that down here is what it looks like:

Infrastructure Components: Both on premise servers, virtual machines (VMs), personal computers and cloud-based versions of the same should be audited regularly and decommissioned or repurposed when no longer required.

Operating System and Supporting Software: All OS and supporting libraries should be audited and upgraded to the latest version routinely and well-communicated audit plan should be maintained.

Custom Software: Any software developed and deployed by the organization or on behalf of the organization must be evaluated against known security vulnerabilities and updates to development frameworks and library components. This evaluation should include scans as well as reviews by third-party auditors if the data being protected falls under compliance such as PCI, EMV, HIPPA and SOX.

These issues continue to be important to CIOs and IT leaders because of the high profile consequences of failing to maintain a secure environment.

The increased availability of computer resources across the network through the growth and prevalence of Internet of Things (IoT) enabled devices will provide many new opportunities and challenges for CIOs and IT leaders.

In some cases, this will enable new business models within existing industries and unlock new revenue streams or reduce overall operational costs. These business models include automating operations with self-serve kiosks, improving facility operations by monitoring industrial equipment and on-property systems, as well as creating new revenue opportunities and better customer experiences by integrating mobile and digital signage technologies.

In other cases, this growth and availability of enabled devices will disrupt existing business models. New entrants into a space could come in at much lower operating costs or deliver service in new and innovative ways.

In both cases, CIOs and IT leaders will need to continue to stay ahead of these trends and develop partnerships to become the disrupter or innovator in their market.

To start, CIOs can participate in the industry in meaningful ways by attending conferences, joining peer groups, contributing to reports and studies and seeking out talent with expertise and passionate to innovation.

And, CIOs should make are regular habit at different points in the year to conduct an audit of where they are, while continuing to ask if goals are being achieved and challenges are being addressed, because 2019 will be here before you know it!

Don’t let challenges disrupt your CIO and IT ambitions. Find out how an IoT platform like Canopy can give you real-time visibility and help keep your devices up and running.

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