Forecast and Review: Battlefield desktop

Dana McCurley, Assistant Editor

Security expert Roberta Bragg predicts that the security battle will be fought at the desktops in 2003, most fiercely with respect to mobile technology. How can we safely secure our smart phones, PDAs

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and laptops? What do you think were the biggest IT issues this past year?

Roberta Bragg: The major issues this past year have been Microsoft licensing schemes and a shrinking technology market. This climate has created massive layoffs and a shrinking training market, which has affected the amount of training going on. These problems will continue to challenge IT as long as untrained IT folks attempt to use, configure, manage and repair software and systems. This problem has special implications for security because all systems need to be configured for security and untrained people are more likely than properly trained people to configure those systems incorrectly.

Another issue this past year was the public recognition that other operating systems other than Windows have security vulnerabilities. Much research is being conducted and many materials are being published on security issues with Solaris, Unix and Linux, as well as applications and databases. Some studies show that open source products are more vulnerable than Windows. I'm just happy that we're finally recognizing that all software is vulnerable and we need to write better software, be aware of its security holes and patch all of it. What do you think the biggest IT issues will in 2003?

Roberta Bragg: I think finding jobs for experienced people will continue to be a problem. Critical training issues, of which there was a serious lack in 2001 and 2002, mean a severe shortage of trained IT professionals, especially on new technologies in 2003 and beyond. Patching administration will also be a problem, as people are wondering how can all systems be patched. Making and keeping mobile technology secure will also continue to plague the industry; how can we safely use our smart phones, PDAs and laptops? The security battle will be fought at the desktop now. What do you predict will be the hot technology or technologies for 2003?

Roberta Bragg: I think anything that has to do with PDA and smart phone security will take off in the coming year. Tablet PCs, grid computing and digital rights technologies will also be hot sellers.

- Back to the 2003 Predictions featured topic

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