SAN FRANCISCO — Cloud computing and virtualization are drivers of innovation, but also present organizational challenges, a panel of the industry’s top CEOs told a packed VMworld 2012 audience earlier this week.
Security in virtualized environments presents challenges that require a new set of tools to limit who can access what data. Security used to be about putting controls and checks on physical boundaries, said outgoing VMware CEO Paul Maritz. Now there’s a move from physical to logical boundaries, where security is becoming behavioural, more like fraud detection — where certain behaviours by individuals or applications raise red flags.
“This is easier to do in a software-defined world,” said Maritz. Not surprisingly, VMware is promoting its vision of a “software-defined data centre” this week here at VMworld, where all infrastructure is virtualized and delivered as a service.
But too much security means less functionality, he said, which is necessary for commerce. “We can no longer wall ourselves off. We have to expose ourselves digitally in order to do business.” He recommended placing logical boundaries between personal data and business applications.
Dell Inc. chairman and CEO Michael Dell said organizations face new security challenges as personal mobile devices are being used to conduct business — often over third-party networks using third-party applications.
But it’s important to embrace the consumerization of IT, the panel suggested, particularly with a new generation of tech-savvy workers entering the workforce.
“They’re mobile, they want innovation to occur anywhere inside the organization and they’re looking for IT to make it easy for them,” said Dell.
Collaboration is occurring across time zones and geographies, enabling new models of work. At Dell, for example, there are three types of employees: remote workers, those who occasionally come into the office, and those who work in a traditional office environment.
“Increasingly it’s the first two categories,” said Dell. The boundaries that separated firms are also coming down, particularly in the supply chain. But, he cautioned, this has to be done securely. “This is a real security challenge. Virtualization can help address that, but there are big challenges here that are not to be overlooked.”
We’re seeing that pace of innovation pick up, said VMware’s incoming CEO Pat Gelsinger, who officially starts his new role on Sept. 1.