Things Are Looking Up for IT

Opinion: Experts are optimistic about the future of IT, but the outlook isn't entirely rosy.

CIOs and technology professionals, like the legendary groundhog, are starting to peer out of their burrows for signs of the end of ITs nuclear winter. What they are seeing are definitely the more optimistic signs of an early spring, according to Executive Editor Stan Gibson, who talked with CIOs at the Society for Information Managements SIM-posium conference, held in Dallas Sept. 17-20.

Experts point to the Y2K conversion, dot-com bust, 9/11 and increased regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley as the mortars that IT has had to endure in the past seven years, all the while being pressured to cut costs and be more efficient and more secure. "I think Y2K is one of the worst things that ever happened to our profession," said Sabre founder Max Hopper, now president of the Max D. Hopper Associates consultant group. "The hype about the dangers and the subsequent nonevent created a false sense of security about the importance of IT," Hopper said at the conference.

But things are finally looking up. IT spending is increasing, and some jobs and skills are in demand despite, or perhaps because of, the outsourcing trend. As a group, CIOs are more focused on the future than on ducking and covering and are putting Web services on the top of their priority lists, Gibson reports on Page 18.

Not all is completely rosy. Some of the emerging technologies that are driving Web services growth are being found to have security issues. The so-called Web 2.0 apps being developed with AJAX (Asynchronous Java-Script and XML), for instance, are being targeted specifically, as the apps are going up faster than secure development techniques can be instituted, reports eWEEK Senior Writer Matt Hines.

Meanwhile, browser-based attacks of all kinds are on the rise, with 69 percent of all attacks focused on the browser, Hines found in a new report issued by Symantec. In all, the security company detected almost 100 new vulnerabilities in three top Web browsers—Firefox, Internet Explorer and Apples Safari—in the first six months of the year, and a 52 percent rise in browser problems overall. Security companies and CIOs will never completely solve the security problem, but what must be done is not let security issues hinder the growth possibilities Web applications can offer.

Contact eWEEK Editor Scot Petersen at


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Scot Petersen

Scot Petersen

Scot Petersen is a technology analyst at Ziff Brothers Investments, a private investment firm. Prior to joining Ziff Brothers, Scot was the editorial director, Business Applications & Architecture,...