Major Canadian security breach coming: IDC

Economists suspect 2013 will be a year of slow growth in Canada, but an information technology market research firm warns those who oversee IT departments not to relax.

The bywords for 2013 are “manage complexity and deliver value,” Tony Olvet, group vice-president of the company’s research domains said looking over IDC Canada’s predictions for the coming year.

That means getting a great return on all of the investments the organization has made in cloud, mobility, analytics and social media, he said.

Specifically, “getting serious about security” – one of the predictions is that there will be a major privacy breach in the public or private sector in 2013 — and “looking at putting business processes on mobile platforms” will be vital Olvet said. There will be great demand from C-level executives on making mobile workers “significantly more productive.”

And, added, Lars Goransson, the Canadian division’s vice-president and general manager, executives want things done fast.

“There is no patience for six-month or year-long implementations,” he said. “Functionality is needed now. That’s something the IT manager has to realize – speed of deployment is absolutely critical. There’s so much change in a lot of industries. They’re under a lot of pressure right now. so competitive advantage can be built quickly — and can eroded extremely quickly now.”

They made the comments during a briefing for reporters prior to an IDC Canada Webcast today which will detail more of their predictions.

The other thing that jumped out during the briefing is that chief information/IT mangers are going to have to fight with line-of-business managers to get back control of the corporate IT agenda.

It’s far too easy for the business side to sign up for cloud-based services without IT knowing Goransson and Olvet agreed. “They are much more aggressive than IT from a time perspective,” said Goransson, “they don’t have the same number of concerns, and for them speed of deployment of the functionally they need to keep up with their business” is paramount.

“IT needs to get back into the driver’s seat. they need to take more responsibility for (IT) strategy and ensure that the line of business doesn’t run off and get into trouble by signing up services that are difficult to integrate with the rest of the business.”

Goransson said CIOs/IT managers also has to erase the impression that when it talks to C-level executives about some of these concerns, especially security, that it isn’t trying to throw up roadblocks.

Overall, IDC Canada believes Canadian organizations will continue to see developments around four main technologies that can transform business processes: cloud computing, mobility, big data/analytics and social media.

For the coming year, it makes the following 10 predictions:

1. Mobile will be a “balancing act” for organizations.

More people are bringing mobile devices into the enterprise than ever in part thanks to corporate BYOD policies. At the same time carriers are upping wireless network speeds. “Now is the time to create some value,” Olvet said.

Over 50 per cent of organizations will mobilize a business app in 2013, IDC says.

Meanwhile organizations have to make decisions on platforms to support. With the number one and two spots taken by Android and Apple Inc.’s iOS, there will be a fierce fight for third place between Research In Motion’s upcoming BlackBerry 10 and handset makers using Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 operating system.

IDC won’t say which will be successful, but Olvet acknowledged it’s a “make or break moment” for RIM.

He suspects IT managers are rooting for both, in part because they shudder at Android’s lack of security.


2. Software-as-a-service will see a breakthrough.

Today 40 per cent of Canadian organizations use some sort of cloud applications, from email to collaborative apps (think WebX) to customer relationship management. That will jump to 70 per cent by the end of 2013 and go beyond.

Look for what IDC calls “industry platform as a service” offerings – for example, a major gasoline company offering a platform for the energy industry applications. There are about 100 of these in the U.S., none here – yet.

As was said earlier, line-of-business managers are at least in part driving this shift.


3. Enterprise cloud expertise will be in demand

With the co-existence of public/private clouds along side a range of on-premise server and mobile-based applications, “portfolio management” will be a key IT skill set in demand.

C-level execs want to know if their IT managers can adapt to variety in the data centre. “In our research we’ve found the most successful cloud deployments are those companies that conduct portfolio management formally,” said Olvet. But we’ve found that less than one in five Canadian companies do that today.”

Look for staff to put portfolio management on a resume


4. Hype around big data solutions will continue to be big.

That’s largely because the need for organizations to keep track of things in real time creates mountains of data.

When IDC Canada asked C-lever executives which technology will have the most impact on transforming their businesses, 60 per cent said big data. (Other responses were mobility 40 per cent; social media 33 per cent; and cloud computing 30 per cent).

Expect software companies to push big data solutions whenever they can. The good news is that there will be a greater range of solutions relating to real business problems, because vendors understand there will be no sales otherwise.


5. There will be a major Canadian data breach in 2013.

[Editor: What could be worse than the Elections Ontario fiasco?]

While the odds favour a USB-related event, where data walks out the door (see above) and laptops, IDC says, the impact is greater with a server breech because of the amount of information held in data centres.

While the number of data loss events is dropping, Olvet said, the amount of personal information lost is increasing.

The lesson, Olvet says, is security has to be holistic.


6. Government remodels

An increasing number of local, regional and provincial governments will adopt the federal government’s Shared Services model. Note that in 2013 the first SS Canada contract, for email, is scheduled to be awarded.

Look for large data centre management outsourcing deals in Western provinces to be announced, some in e-health.

Also, the open data movement will spread as part of “government as a service,” offering more government services in the cloud and on mobile platforms.


7. Outsourcing continues to roll

In 2013 more than 50 per cent of organizations will outsource a component of infrastructure, in part to save money but also because service providers are getting good at what they do. Goransson noted that enterprise satisfaction is 90 per cent, significantly up in the past year. Which is why this year we saw many service providers – Telus, IBM, Primus, Cogeco among others – expanding their data centres.

Hot industries are health care, energy companies and the public sector.

On the other hand, what Goransson calls traditional outsourcing – large, long deals for server, network or desktop management – is winding down in favour of selective outsourcing of applications or functions over shorter periods of time. Think of business processes (human resources, finance, call centres), infrastructure and private clouds. In fact, Goransson said, BPO will emerge in 2013 after being dormant. He notes that ADP has broadened from only doing payroll to doing human resources, all in the cloud.


8. Enterprise buying shifts away from IT

With organizations moving to mobility and cloud solutions, it’s imperative that vendors build solutions for line-of-business buyers.

This is particularly important for hardware/software makers whose products are customer-facing or for front-office staff – for example, manufacturers of a mobile application for retail store staff. The sales pitch goes to the VP of sales, Goransson said, rather than the IT manager.

Already 30 per cent of business spending on technology is made by departments other than IT, he pointed out.

9. Printer manufactures expand their horizons

With hardware prices dropping, manufacturers continue to broaden their lineups into workflow, document management and processing documents straight to digital. Look for these companies to buy startups that are mobility and cloud-related that enable printing.

3D printing solutions will come down in price.


10. On the consumer side, video goes “over the top”

The number of people watching TV using over the top services like Netflix (not including ITPV) will increase.

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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