In the past week, in which I met several of our clients that are planning for this year, I only found more confirmation for the proposition in my previous blog item. Although CIO’s have been struggling for years with immovable, petrified IT households, many now seem to be ready to make a breakthrough. Using crisis as a welcome burning platform, they simplify and open up their systems. That way, they create the headroom for innovation and the flexibility to connect to the outside world. And that is where all the opportunities for growth hide, in this exciting network of everything.
Last week’s meetings reminded me however of yet another innovation killer. You may have dealt with your legacy systems and your antiquated IT infrastructure. You may even have brought in the service-oriented architecture, the open interfaces and the collaborative web 2.0 stuff that will turn your company into a Mashup Corporation. But then – all of a sudden – you may find him standing in the doorway, dark and intimidating, the incorruptible hangman that could put your innovative dreams right to an end: yes, it is indeed your own security officer.

Connections are unsafe, sensitive information might be exposed, partners on the network could be shady, transactions might be invalid. It won’t pass our firewalls in the first place. It’s all unproven technology, and it doesn’t fit the current procedures. Interesting ideas though, let’s study on them for a year or so. You can’t really blame security people for slowing you down. They were hired in the first place to protect your information and integrity. The thing is, they became security experts because they were predestined to be. Typically, they incline to deep analytical behaviour and the urge to be completely in control. They’re just a bit more serious than average, otherwise they would have been in marketing, designing cloths, selling cars or writing articles about Britney Spears.
Good people they are. But they may not show the appetite for innovative business and the sense of humour that you are looking for to quickly cash in on new ideas and solutions.
But change is on its way, illustrated by the paradigm-breaking ideas of the Jericho Forum (we dedicated an earlier blog-item to this too). Being more secure while breaking down all the walls: this is the paradox of de-perimeterised security and it may well be the only way to thrive in the value networks of tomorrow. If you want to learn more about it, there is enough to be found on the web. But I particularly recommend a book which was written by Marco Plas, a colleague of mine who specialises in New World security. “The Book of Jericho 2.0” is unfortunately printed on old-fashioned paper – sorry for that – but it is easy to read and glossy enough to introduce even top management to the basic principles.
Exactly what we need to deal with yet another innovation killer. Just ask your favourite security contact person within Capgemini (don’t worry, they are definitely not hangmen and some of them even like Britney) and we’ll make sure you get the book.

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