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Predicting the Tech Future

Gibbs discusses Tech Prediction, a blog to track the future

Backspin By , Network World
February 15, 2013 05:00 PM ET
Gibbs

Network World - For my recent column of predictions for 2013 I polled a huge number of IT people to see what they are expecting, and ended up getting more than 400 responses.

That made it tricky to choose what to focus on in that one January column, but a few areas stood out, including Big Data, Security and Cloud. But one of the interesting things was how many of the predictions cross over ... clouds and security, Big Data and clouds, security and Big Data ... it makes for the Venn diagram from hell.

I promised to make all of the predictions available and a week ago I launched Tech Predictions, a blog on which I'm publishing each prediction submitted. They're all categorized, tagged, and the author cited (except where anonymity was requested), along with the author's estimation of how likely the prediction is. You can also vote the predictions up or down and leave comments.

[ IN PICTURES: 10 cloud predictions for 2013 ]

Pretty much every prediction is thought-provoking and intriguing. For example, Leonid Shtilman, CEO, Viewfinity, a company that provides "privilege management and application control for desktops, laptops and servers," predicted:

The beginning of the end of the need for Windows anti-virus protection. This is predicated by the introduction of the Windows 8 operating system ... Enterprises will [increasingly adopt Windows 8 applications] based on Default/Deny [meaning, unless you specifically allow something you deny it], the same way that iOS apps are approved through the [Apple] App Store. [That will make it] ... harder and harder to write viruses for Windows. Just as we don't see malware and viruses prevalent on iOS because of this default/deny model, we will see less need for security for Windows apps.

A friend on Facebook asked if I agreed with this prediction and, while it's an interesting take on the future of endpoint security, I'm not sure. I would argue it is true that, with morphing malware becoming so sophisticated, the antivirus/anti-malware products we have today are, indeed, becoming less effective if not obsolete.

But while the explicit acceptance of screened applications and blocking of unauthorized apps sounds good, screening can't be anywhere remotely near perfect. The problem is that viruses can travel without apps ... data can also be a vector.

Thus, unless Microsoft plans to see the count of apps in their store increase at a snail's pace (and it only has 30,000 compared to the more than 1 million approved by Apple for iOS and OS X combined), by exhaustively verifying the safety of applications the company will have to trade off thoroughness for volume and that means that malware or vectors for malware can slip through.

I don't know about you, but when it comes to system integrity, I want a belt and braces strategy. Trusting a single vendor to do the job of protecting you is, at best, optimistic.

This is just one example of how predictions illuminate our thinking and strategies, and on the Tech Predictions site there are, as of this writing, 116 predictions with more than 200 other, equally intriguing ideas to be posted soon.

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