Predictions 2011: Privacy, IPv6 and Security

In first of series, NetSafe CEO Martin Cocker looks at the year ahead

Top of Martin Cocker's list for 2011 is managing privacy obligations, “especially with reference to the use of cloud computing, and the growing use of social networking in larger organisations.”

Also high up on Cocker's agenda is managing computer security. “The criminals are having a purple patch here at the moment — caused by a combination of: the commoditisation of malware, the division of labour allowing increased specialisation by cyber criminals, and the limited security skills of general users,” Cocker says.

He also mentions the adoption of IPv6, which may be on the technology roadmap for major users but which is, he says, “just not intuitive like IPv4.”

“IPv4 still works anyway, so convincing business owners to invest in IPv6 will continue to be difficult,” he says.

Cocker says that achieving a return on investment for ICT will continue to be a challenge.

“In theory, businesses who invest in ICT will make productivity gains. The problem is that 'investing in ICT' means more than just purchasing equipment. Businesses need to invest in training. They need to establish processes to protect against the possible negative consequences of introducing technology,” he says.

“In many cases, they will need to change existing business practices to maximise the benefits the technology will bring. There is plenty of advice for businesses on what they should buy — but not enough support for these other aspects of ICT use.”

The same argument plays out on a national scale. The country is investing big in Ultra Fast Broadband network, but we're not investing equally in the other components of a successful digital society. Within a few years we'll have an Ultra fast network that we're not making the most of.”

Finally, Cocker sites, what he describes as the ‘Third Wave of Regulation’ as having a strong influence on the ICT industry in the coming year.

“The first rounds of regulation governed the commercialisation and then rapid expansion of the net. The next round of regulation will attempt to make the internet a more reliable for the things we've now come to rely on it for (commerce, communications etc),” he says.

“Until now, the internet has been treated like an uncontrollable independent external entity. This year we'll see some serious attempts to bring it under the control by traditional power brokers (that is governments). In practical terms, most of these efforts will come to nothing.”

*This week Computerworld is running a series of Predictions for 2011 by IT industry figures. Tomorrow NZICT CEO Brett O’Riley lists his top 10 predictions.

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