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Wednesday, April 03, 2013

CIOs largely focused on leveraging, protecting corporate data

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It would be difficult to find a business that is not dependent on data. Every organization, regardless of size and industry, inevitably relies on information for a variety of operations. If a firm struggles to accumulate, create, store, protect or utilize its data effectively, then it will almost certainly fail to achieve its larger goals.

With all of this in mind, it is no surprise that many CIOs are focused largely on the question of how to make the most of data while maintaining its integrity and security, as ZDNet's Gery Menegaz recently highlighted.

CIOs and data
Menegaz asked several CIOs a relatively simple question: What is keeping you up at night? The answers these individuals provided highlighted the critical role that data plays for businesses, and the struggles firms experience as they try to utilize and protect it.

"CIOs are under tremendous pressure to maximize the value of their company's data," said Kent Christensen of Datalink, the news source reported. "Done well, their organizations stand to gain more shareholder value, greater competitive advantage and much more."

Christensen pointed to data analytics, cloud computing and distributed sharing as key areas of focus for CIOs. This last area and related issues, such as bring your own device (BYOD), were particularly prominent concerns for CIOs, Menegaz noted.

"With the increasing popularity of BYOD and the ever expanding cloud storage space, how to manage content for security and efficiency is a top concern for CIOs today," noted Yangin Wang, founder and CEO of Vobile, Inc., the writer reported.

BYOD and security
The rise of BYOD policies is easy to understand. In a BYOD environment, employees enjoy much greater freedom and flexibility. Workers typically prefer to use their own smartphones and tablets, rather than company-issued devices. Consequently, BYOD often contributes to higher employee satisfaction and increases productivity when workers are traveling or working from home.

The advantages of BYOD are further enhanced by the rise of cloud computing. With the cloud, a business can ensure that an employee has access to all relevant corporate information at any time, regardless of his or her physical location.

However, as CIOs are well aware, the accessibility advantages of BYOD and cloud computing also present security challenges. As data becomes increasingly available to workers, it also faces increased potential of falling into the wrong hands. Devices that lack the proper protection or that are used in unsafe ways present a serious risk of data breaches.

That is why firms interested in pursuing BYOD strategies should consider investing in high-grade secure file sharing tools. Specifically, organizations should only utilize systems that do not impose a significant burden on users. An effective secure file sharing tool will essentially operate in the background and require minimal activity on the part of employees. If the solution chosen requires too many steps, then employees will inevitably be less thorough about ensuring the files they send via mobile devices are always protected.