Global enterprise security spending to hit $103 billion this year

The pace of enterprise information security spending on hardware, software, and services is expected to grow 9.4 percent this year over 2017, according to a recently released forecast from the market research firm IDC. According to IDC, that pace of growth, which is considerably higher than the pace of technology growth overall, is expected to continue for the next several years as organizations across industries invest in securing their enterprise and meeting regulatory demands.

The largest technology category by spending this year is expected to be the managed security services segment, which should reach $21 billion. The managed security services market is expected to grow at a rate of 14.2 percent. Network security hardware will be the second largest category, this includes unified threat management, firewalls, and intrusion detection and prevention technologies. Next up are integration services and endpoint security software.

The lion’s share of security spending will be large enterprises (which IDC sets as 500 to 1,000 employees) and very large enterprises, those with more than 1,000 employees. IDC projects that large business security spending will grow just over 11 percent annually, while very large businesses will grow at 9.4 percent annually.

Organizations in the United States will be the single largest geographic region when it comes to security spending, collectively forecast to reach about $45 billion this year. The federal government and discrete manufacturing will account for 20 percent of the U.S. total. The U.S. will be followed by organizations in China, where state/local government, telecommunications, and central government are expected to comprise the largest percentage of security spending in that nation.

Medium and small businesses, along with consumers, will be spending as well this year, with each buying $26 billion and $5.7 billion on security hardware, software, and services throughout 2019.

Avoiding cyber attacks while on the road to digital transformation

No matter where your organization may be on its digital transformation journey, beware the dangers lurking along the way. Fellow travelers down this road have been waylaid time and again by cybercriminals wreaking havoc through ransomware, distributed denial of service attacks, data breaches and other types of attacks.

Digitizing more core business processes, after all, broadens the attack surface for all organizations.  And this at a time when attacks are getting more successful.  Last year, for example, we witnessed some of the largest data breaches on record. The Marriott Starwood hotels breach included nearly 500 million records. Other massive breaches included: Under Armour (150 million records), Facebook (87 million records), Elasticsearch (82 million records), Google+ (52.5 million records), Newegg (50 million records), and Panera (37 million records).

As the many companies that have suffered cyberattacks know, the consequences can be severe: everything from hefty fines for noncompliance with regulatory standards, to remediation costs, damaged brand reputation, loss of shareholder value, customer churn, law suits and more — all of which can seriously delay or threaten the success of digital transformation efforts.

Roadblocks to cyberthreat defense

We’re all aware of the risks in today’s cyberthreat landscape, so why are many organizations not able to withstand attacks? Simply put, it’s because of the roadblocks that keep cropping up along the way, many of which are familiar: too much data to analyze, too many potential threats to investigate, too few security staff, lack of cloud security skills, unsatisfactory internal security processes … the list goes on.

Part of the reason it’s hard to clear these roadblocks is today’s complex, dynamic application environments — think microservices, APIs, containers, serverless computing, and continuous integration and delivery processes and tools. The rapidly evolving and increasingly ephemeral technology stack makes it that much harder to understand how to adapt and extend security policies and tools to protect applications and data that are constantly on the move.

The security team needs the resources and skills to bring security aspects into the develop-to-deliver process and integrate security into the application development life cycle at the speed of development and delivery that today’s competitive environment demands.

Yet, skilled resources —  or rather, the lack thereof — is part of the problem. Numerous studies highlight the growing security talent gap. In its Cyberthreat Defense Report, CyberEdge Group reports that 84 percent of organizations are experiencing an IT security skills shortage.

Clearing the road

An infographic from DXC Technology and partner Micro Focus sheds light on these and other top cyberthreat challenges on the path to digital transformation. It also introduces ideas for overcoming those challenges.

For instance, one roadblock most organizations face is having too much data to analyze. This challenge can be addressed with advanced security analytics. Analytics solutions that deliver deep insights through artificial intelligence and machine learning can help IT security organizations cut through the noise of millions of security events generated by a typical enterprise security infrastructure.

Likewise, to address the talent shortage and do more with the same staff, enterprises are increasingly turning to security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) solutions. These capabilities, integrated into a digital core security platform, can automate security tasks, processes and workflows to improve response time, accuracy and standardization.

As organizations proceed on their journey to transform their business, the transformation of security and risk management must be an integral component. Rather than bolting-on security at the end, organizations should plan for digital transformation and security together, simultaneously. While managing security risk in a fast-changing environment isn’t easy, it is possible with the right strategy that encompasses people, processes and technology.

Digital healthcare: Improving outcomes through cloud-based insight

Digital transformation in healthcare can no longer be ignored when seeking to improve outcomes. The convergence of “3rd Platform” technologies (big data and analytics, cloud, mobility and social) with innovation accelerators, such as artificial intelligence and the internet of things, continues to impact the industry landscape daily and bring new opportunities and challenges. IDC research shows worldwide spend on digital transformation technologies grew to nearly 2 trillion dollars this year and that the health industry (alongside retail) increased its spend faster than all other industries. Together with new nontraditional healthcare entrants into the industry and big moves from “big tech” companies, the industry has changed and will no longer be the same.

As organizations deploy digital platforms to get digital transformation done, the next step will be to realize revenue from digital offerings fully assimilated in a cloud-driven fabric. While cloud-based insights will empower healthcare organizations to realize better outcomes, organizations will further want to realize value from data that separates them from the crowd as thrivers, rather than survivors, in the race to innovate. To thrive and win, operating models must embrace cloud-based digital health platforms to fundamentally improve all aspects of services, experiences and operations. At the heart of this paradigm is a data integration and orchestration challenge to generate an intelligent core for the organization that will help it to rapidly evolve and adapt to industry drivers. Such drivers include the emerging autonomy of artificial intelligence, changes in the global populace, cyber insecurity and the digital trust crisis, rising consumer expectations, and challenges with retrofitting legacy systems into the digitally transformed world.

As providers, payers and life sciences companies seek new ways to stay ahead, they must also deliver on the expectations of far more sophisticated and empowered care-seeking consumers. Cloud-based insights can help deliver by cutting sideways across the priorities that matter for healthcare organizations, such as convenient access, financial and clinical risk management, data operationalization, and consumer-centricity. The second wave of electronic health records (EHR 2.0) marks a good example of a fast-emerging use case embracing cloud-based insight into the provider space, where platform plays introduce cutting-edge clinical documentation capabilities and analytics positioned to positively transform the physician experience, patient engagement, and value-based care. The future is about animating and automating workflows through better user experiences, system openness and value-based insights in a world where one size does not fit all.

Yet, the cloud has come a long way in healthcare over a short period of time. According to IDC Health Insights data, there is less apprehension now about security in the cloud. The majority of organizations believe the cloud offers better business continuity and should be leveraged as a security solution, as the benefits outweigh the risks. Furthermore, deep industry and technical expertise were revealed as key factors for organizations making the switch to the cloud. These are signs of an industry that seeks to move beyond the inefficient methodology and being bogged down in the mundane. Improving outcomes through cloud-based digital insights is forming a top-level strategic imperative for organizations looking to embed a better culture of digital care.

New questions will need to be answered on how the cloud can enable more meaningful, personalized, integrated and value-driven workflows through better insight. Digital health solutions must aim to optimize staff productivity, maintain financial sustainability, and create collaborative patient experiences to manage and maintain health. Such approaches would allow organizations to differentiate and compete more effectively in the market. Healthcare must learn to leverage the cloud in meaningful, efficient and cost-effective ways. Further, the industry will seek best practices on how to optimize provider, payer and life science workflows through better enabling privacy and reliability in the cloud “by design.” The next 5 years, will see the industry seek to answer such questions, address such challenges, and identify the best practices to support the needs of stakeholders to do “digital first” and become future-ready.

How AI-driven ‘voicebots’ can help airline personnel — and their companies

Airline workers have it tough.

A new generation of voice-driven software bots promises to make their work easier.

Airline employees, whether pilots, flight attendants or maintenance/repair/overhaul (MRO) technicians, are often called on to perform challenging tasks — and in a hurry. Think of a pilot dealing with mechanical failure, a flight attendant who can’t make a connection due to bad weather or a technician urgently needing a crucial part that’s out of stock.

To help solve these tough challenges in real time, a new generation of “voicebots” leverages two advanced approaches:

  • The first, natural language processing (NLP), lets machines and humans interact using “natural” (that is, human) languages.
  • The second, machine learning (ML), is a subset of AI that empowers computer systems to build mathematical models based on observed patterns.

Voicebots eliminate the need to type, click or point. Instead, a worker can simply speak normally, then listen as the voicebot speaks back in response. What’s more, the latest voicebots can actually detect a speaker’s mood – for example, a sense of urgency – and then use that information to prioritize requests, such as ordering a new part.

Voicebots can also deliver important business benefits to the enterprise. For one, they empower airlines to automate tasks formerly done by hand, then expedite them based on priorities detected in a speaker’s voice. This can help airlines ease disruptions and delays, as well as lower costs and reallocate those savings to new and innovative projects. Imagine, for example, an airline that uses voicebots to ensure more efficient maintenance. If it could lower the number of flight delays by just 0.5%, the airline would enjoy total annual cost savings of $4 million to $18 million, depending on the number of daily flights.

By implementing this cutting-edge technology, airlines should also have an easier time attracting and retaining tech-savvy workers, possibly helping to mitigate the labor shortages forecast for the industry.

Voice technology soars — in the air and on the ground

Voicebots for airline workers are part of the bigger trend of voice technology that consumers are already on board with. For example, market-watcher IDC predicts consumers worldwide will purchase more than 144 million voice-enabled smart speakers this year. The business market is ripening, too. Amazon, Google and Microsoft are all dedicating serious resources to expanding their voice technologies for B2B use.

Some airlines already use AI-powered chatbots to serve their customers. These chatbots can be programmed to understand the intent behind a customer’s request, recall an entire conversation history and respond to requests in a human-like way.

On the enterprise side, aircraft-maker Boeing is among manufacturers investing in AI and other voicebot technologies. The company is conducting research on NLP, speech processing, acoustic modeling, language modeling and speech recognition.

Real-life scenarios

How will airline employees benefit from using voicebots? Here are a few possible applications:

  • Pilots can use voicebots, both during preflight preparations and while actually flying. A complicated command from air-traffic control can take pilots up to 30 seconds to complete, turning all the knobs and hitting all the necessary buttons. A speech-recognition system can cut that time dramatically, allowing pilots to keep their eyes on the traffic and weather, and to keep the airplane safe.
  • MRO technicians can use voicebots to assist maintenance and repairs. A technician needing to replace a specific component could ask a voicebot, “Do we have this part in stock?” If the answer is negative, the bot could then find the nearest location where the part is available and arrange for it to be shipped. The voicebot could even select Express or Standard delivery based on the urgency detected in the mechanic’s voice.
  • Flight attendants can use voicebots when encountering flight delays, cancellations and other common scheduling changes. For example, a flight attendant who is snowbound in Denver could tell a voicebot, “Notify Dallas that I’m going to miss my connecting flight today. Then find someone who can fill in for me on the next flight.” The airline’s crew-scheduling system could then make the necessary changes in real time.

Getting started

Airlines looking to equip their employees with voicebots may wonder how to begin. We suggest a three-step process:

Step 1: Ideation. Begin by brainstorming. Assemble your team and ask them: What are our biggest disruptions? How could voice technology help?

Step 2: Proof of concept. With your biggest disruptions in mind, develop a potential solution using voicebots.

Step 3: MVP. Borrow a tactic from the Agile approach — create a minimum viable product. This does not need to be a perfect, complete piece of software. Instead, create just enough for early tests and feedback. Then repeat as needed.

Airlines looking to employ voicebots will also need to take on one more challenge: data access. Voicebots need quick access to all enterprise data. Yet many airlines keep their data protected in silos, mainly for security reasons. For voicebots, that makes gaining access to this data difficult and slow.

To resolve this issue, airlines need to find an acceptable balance between data security on the one hand and speedy voicebot data access on the other. This could be hard. But the alternative — doing nothing — could is even worse. Any airline that doesn’t adopt voicebots can be sure the competition will.

Leveraging global centers of gravity for digital disruption

Those of us who have spent our careers in global industries used to face the “not invented here” challenge of resistance to ideas from the outside.  Americans traipsed around the world trying to convince their international counterparts that they had all the answers related to marketing and technology. Sometimes it worked. In many cases, it resulted in global enterprise culture clash.

But the world has changed to one of worry that technology is “not disrupting here,” and the search is on at corporate headquarters around the world to find where real innovation is occurring. And in a world of globalization, that innovation can happen in the least likely places, thus rocking U.S.-based headquarters that still operate with that old cultural imperialist mentality.

Many innovation indexes reinforce the fact that hotbeds of innovation have shifted. For example, the reputable Global Innovation Index, co-produced by Cornell, INSEAD and World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), now shows the top countries for innovation across their aggregated indices are:  Switzerland, Netherlands, Sweden, UK, Switzerland and then (drumroll), the U.S. as number 6. Japan and Korea ranked 12 and 13 respectively.

But innovation lists can only help us so much. The fact is that finding and, more importantly, setting centers of gravity in an enterprise can have no geographic rhyme or reason. In my pre-internet years, I found that disruption actually happened in the operations that were the furthest away from U.S. headquarters, since corporate management would have to make an extreme effort to visit places like Australia and New Zealand to get a feel for the dynamics of their local media business. That changed when the international media business shifted to web sites and digital distribution, and observing the market was simply a matter of a mouse and keyboard.

From an innovation perspective, the shift to digital media was a blessing for headquarters and a curse to many of the local subsidiaries who operated on a “need-to-know” basis with headquarters. Headquarters finally had a window into many of the skunkworks projects that were previously done on the sly until they warranted an award at industry events or at annual global managers’ meetings.

Smart enterprises started leveraging the web to develop global innovation centers of excellence, or what are sometimes known as disruption studios. In the past, corporate management needed to physically travel to a country or city to experience the innovation culture. However, in the world of collaborative software, much of the digital transformation is being done, by definition, online.

History tells me, though, that even with the accessibility of online communications, many of these disruptive strategies are still shared with HQ only on a “need-to-know” basis. Without a risk-reward culture at the center of the business, these innovations will remain sequestered in a country or region.

The companies that prize innovation will reward the risk takers and incentivize them to publish innovation best practices. Some of the most successful enterprises go one step further. They develop “worst practices studios” so that other countries and divisions can avoid costly investments in half-baked platforms or services. In the spirit of “everyone slows down for a car wreck,” these tend to receive some of the highest engagement on enterprise portals.

Last, one of the most powerful aspects of leveraging global best practice centers is that commonality on certain digital disruptions can be found across what might seem to be totally disparate markets. Cultural imperialism in enterprises leads many innovators to cater to the reaction from a U.S.-based headquarters. But my experience is that the power is in how smaller markets can leverage innovation strategy because they share similar budget and staffing limitations. In the media world, we would see such strange bedfellows as Chile and Bulgaria finding some common ground on a transformation that the well-endowed UK and US country managers would never be interested in.