Determinism Is the Key to Security, IDC Tells RSA Conference

At IDC's annual RSA Conference breakfast, the analyst firm details its view on what's important in security now and in the years ahead.

sean pike rsa conference 2017

SAN FRANCISCO—Analyst firm IDC hosted its annual RSA Conference breakfast meeting here on Feb. 15, providing the standing-room-only audience with some direction on the future of security.

While there is a lot of talk at the RSA Conference about machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), Sean Pike, program vice president of security products at IDC, sees a far more important trend. In his view, the biggest and most important trend in security today is what he referred to as determinism.

According to Pike, determinism is not about whether or not an organization was or wasn't breached, but rather about the ability of an organization to definitively prove the integrity of IT assets.

"Determinism means integrity," Pike said. "I believe that it is integrity that will pull us through to the next phase of digital transformation."

What integrity means in a data context is that data has been unchanged and it is reliable, he said. Deterministic integrity is at the core what information security should be all about. Pike noted that providing integrity means making sure that information is accurate.

AI and machine learning are helpful in improving decision-making accuracy. Pike said that AI can help inform integrity, with data helping to make a deterministic assessment about who someone is or what something is.

"We want to know that someone or something is who they purport to be, and the way to do that is through deterministic data integrity," Pike said. "I hope that over the next few years, the security industry will talk more about the integrity of data and not just about threat protection."

Security Statistics

Looking at some of the numbers behind the security industry, Pike is bullish on the growth prospects for the identity and access management market. According to IDC, identity and access control technology revenue will grow by 8.3 percent in 2017, and it's a topic that nearly every client asks about.

"Identity will be an incredibly hot space over next few years, and that goes directly to integrity," Pike said.

Cloud security is also a very hot space, with 83 percent of respondents to an unpublished IDC survey cited by Pike looking to buy some form of cloud security service in the next 12 to 18 months.

Additionally, there is strong demand for managed security services, with 90 percent of organizations telling IDC they plan on spending money on such services. There is also strong demand for analytics as a service, with 50 percent of organizations telling IDC they plan on using analytics to solve cyber-security challenges in the next year.

While organizations are heading to the cloud, Pike noted that there is still demand for traditional network security products like firewalls. According to IDC, 63 percent of organizations plan on increasing spending this year on network security products.

"What that says to me is that though organizations are moving to the cloud, they realize they still have to pay attention to their heritage and protect where they came from," Pike said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.