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A Mind for Technology

Gartner recently released its “Top Vertical Industry Predictions for IT Organizations for 2014” and are painting quite a dramatic picture of the future. From renewed Occupy Wall Street movements to the disruption of China’s manufacturing economy, the predictions showcase the global impact of technology innovations that product managers everywhere aspire to achieve. We all hope our ideas will change the world, and there are 10 predictions in the article that spark the imagination in that direction.

But one of the most provocative predictions is the statement that “by 2020, enterprises and governments will fail to protect 75% of sensitive data, and will declassify and grant broad/public access to it.” Vice President & Gartner Fellow Joseph Feiman goes on to say that “protecting all data is not only unrealistic, but is also unnecessary, because much of the data we think is sensitive is not.” Referencing the universal ability of users to find information via open sources on the internet, he cites most data privacy efforts as insurmountable challenges that produce wasted efforts. “Overall, there is no need, nor there are abilities, budgets and resources, to protect as much data as is stored (and keeps accumulating) in the data repositories.”

Data Privacy has never been a more relevant issue than it is today. Given the rise in web-based applications and software-as-a-service offerings, a substantial amount of data ranging from enterprise operations to personal user data now lives outside the walls of organizations. For Gartner’s claim that “by 2017, 80% of consumers will collect, track and barter their personal data”, or for companies to continue to innovate and profit on the ground-breaking technologies highlighted in this article, that data must retain value, and it will do so because of its uniqueness. To encourage companies and governments to loosen data protection strategies will commoditize the information they store and will quickly devalue that information.

For technology companies to continue to innovate, they need to know their information governance and compliance policies will be able to scale and protect their competitive advantages regardless of the information gateway – including collaboration platforms like Microsoft SharePoint, file shares, and websites. Rather than take a defeatist approach, AvePoint is committed to facing this growing information and making sure that “rigorous sensitive data discovery and classification should be adopted and applied before data protection efforts begin,” as stated in the Gartner report.

We see two pieces to this puzzle: first, creating software solutions that continue to automate and adapt to the world data privacy regulations for all of its enterprise content no matter where it resides. Second, in time we see these software solutions placed in the hands of consumers to create their own information governance policies, as easily as they can create a financial plan online today. Forrester Research released a recent study that found Security teams are still largely responsible for privacy and regulations. We will be the harmony that marries both that user’s right to privacy with the privacy interests of their company.

I’m not advocating that we suddenly limit what information is shared – the value of social networks speaks for itself and is certainly not going to diminish anytime soon. This is a prime opportunity for the security and business sides of the house to work together toward a common aim: collaboration. Gartner showcases successful examples of crowd-sourced or crowd-funded projects, predicting that “by 2017, over half of consumer goods manufacturers will employ crowdsourcing to achieve fully 75% of their consumer innovation and R&D capabilities”. This showcases the need for collecting data, and just what companies can do with this inbound data. But in the interest of maximizing “the perceived value to the individual”, especially in generating innovations for technology companies, we need to take Gartner’s warning seriously and make sure this failure to protect sensitive data does not happen!

At AvePoint, this drives one of the main pillars of our vision to help organizations worldwide collaborate with confidence. Visit our site to learn how we’re already helping organizations make their data accessible to the people who should have it and protect it from the people who should not.

John Hodges
John Hodges
John Hodges is Senior Vice President of Product Strategy at AvePoint, focusing on developing compliance solutions that address modern data privacy, classification, and data protection needs for organizations worldwide. Since joining AvePoint in 2008, John has worked directly with the company’s product management and research & development teams to cultivate creative ideas and bridge the gap between sales and technology – providing a practical target for innovation and a focused message for sales and marketing. John has been actively engaged in the SharePoint community for several years, working with many Fortune 500 companies to drive sustainable adoption of Microsoft technology and optimize SharePoint’s larger purpose-built implementations. John’s insights and opinions on modern Information Technology can be found in various industry publications, as well as throughout this numerous speaking sessions in webinars and at events worldwide.


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