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Social networking and technological security

April 20, 2009

Consider the following scenario: your employees are innovative, creative and excitedly embracing all of the information sharing opportunities Web 2.0 has to offer. Your organization, like many, has its own version of Twitter (with some clever name that’s similar but not likely to cause confusion with the original). Your organization also has a micro-blogging space and even various cyber cafes in which your employees can meet up and chat about…well…whatever. Cool huh? But what if employees are sharing information you don’t want them to share – and with folks that you’d rather not be privy to all of your latest and greatest R&D discoveries or projects…now that you’ve let the social networking cat out of the bag, how do you deal with trying to control it?

Technological security is currently and will continue to be an enormous issue on the personal, organizational and governmental levels. For instance, NextSentry has devised a desktop software that is designed to keep employees from knowingly or unknowingly disseminating sensitive information to the outside world (see http://www.nextsentry.com/ActiveSentry.ashx). The software protects email, files, memory devices and hardware and answers concerns that individuals or organizations may have with regard to trust issues and the ultimately security of information stored. This is only one example of an important direction with regard to security as the internet continually provides growth in terms of the world economy and the security issues and exposures become more important to address as a normal course of business.

Virtual work environments are becoming more common and plausible with contributions such as Sun Microsystems Laboratories’ Project MPK20: Sun’s Virtual Workplace (see http://research.sun.com/projects/mpk20). With transportation concerns and the need for distributed team environments, Sun’s platform mirrors game technology and virtual worlds technology to bring together work and workers who might never be in the same geographical location or time zone to accomplish things synchronously and asynchronously. The flexibility and appeal to millenials will forever change work environments and could potentially have a positive effect on the environment as well with regard to energy conservation.

Talend has figured out a way to capitalize on ubiquitous open software solutions in its free, full-featured data integration product built using only open-source components (see http://www.talend.com/press/java-data-integration.php). The software performs typical data integration functions that previously were only available through expensive or proprietary software packages that usually had to be purchased as a package.

The next wave of technological security developments will be required answer the question of enhanced capability and security without a major financial commitment. Additionally, such advances will also need to answer the problem of how to maximize and leverage resources (human and other) while maintaining the integrity of the organization’s intellectual property. The concept of value-added will not be ancillary to the requirements of many organizations and due to the tightened purse-strings as a result of the economy, organizations will come to expect high-performing solutions with lots of extras as a matter of general practice. And, due to the tightened spending habits of organizations, providers will find ways to accommodate those expectations.

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