As Information Technology Changes, the One Constant is Visibility

Sachi Sambandan
Monday, February 1, 2016
Sachi Sambandan
The march of progress in technology has never stood still, but these days it feels like it's moving at an incalculably swift pace. The explosion of mobile, social, Big Data and cloud computing has changed the way we work, play and live. These technologies were first disruptive, but are now becoming so pervasive that it is almost difficult to remember a time without them.

Advancements in information technology have underpinned the disruptive business models of the startups that have changed the way we think about retail, telecommunications, transportation, and more. Most of us experience these dynamic shifts as consumers, whether it's riding in a cab hailed from a smartphone or streaming movies on a smart TV. But what consumers don't see are the incredible advances in information technology that have formed the infrastructure of the new, connected world. Networks are faster and larger than ever, the raw power of commodity cloud compute and storage is transformative, and mobility provides amazing possibilities.

These innovations represent an incredible achievement for engineers and computer scientists. But, it's called disruption for a reason-these advancements have created incredible new challenges that must be met, as well as unintended consequences that could not have been foreseen. These challenges are compounded by the fact that end users - be they consumers streaming video or employees at a large enterprise - need technology to perform, with no room for error. While at times the challenges seem endless, there are four core problems facing today's IT professionals - security, manageability, flexibility and agility.

Manageability applies to the sheer scope of IT today. Between cloud, mobile and virtualization, the mass and complexity of infrastructure has grown daunting. Fueling this fire is both the rise of machine-to-machine traffic and the increasing use of encrypted traffic. These complexities have in part created issues in security. While the benefits that have come with cloud and mobility are massive, they have dramatically expanded the threat vector for attackers, who have taken the upper hand in the ongoing cyber war.

While IT is more complex, it also requires more flexibility in its design. The days of going to a single, monolithic vendor and acquiring all that is needed are over with-that is evident both in the makeup of today's infrastructure and in consolidation of the "mega vendors." To succeed today, IT departments are required to assemble the best collection of technologies possible from a wide ecosystem of vendors and their partners. And, if all of this wasn't complicated enough, IT has to be incredibly agile to meet the needs of its uses. This breakneck pace forces them to adopt new technologies sooner rather than later to avoid the creep of Shadow IT, but at the cost of increasing complexity and potentially weakening security.

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