Strong Authentication is a Healthcare Priority in 2009

Happy New Year everyone. Unfortunately for all of us, we enter 2009 facing the reality of an economic recession that affects every industry. Layoffs are rampant, budgets are slashed and businesses are scrambling to weather the economic storm. Faced with these hard realities, it's a good time to regroup and rethink our next steps as we prepare for the eventual upturn.

So what are businesses thinking about? What should the priorities be in 2009? We've heard from our customers, and there is a general consensus around three focal areas, that are by-products of the sense of urgency to respond quickly to the economic reality of the coming year. We'll tackle these three topics in subsequent postings later this month:

  • Productivity - It's universally accepted that we're going to have to do more with less in the coming year - less staff in IT, less money to spend on projects, less time to wait for ROI from ongoing projects. With that in mind, consolidation of resources and enhanced productivity will be priorities in 2009, specifically around reducing extra time-consuming problems that keep employees from the real tasks at hand - progressing the business.
  • Security - Increasing productivity can sometimes lead to a lessened focus on security. However, considering we just left a year that had the highest number of data breaches on record, businesses cannot afford to put security concerns on the backburner. As the economy worsens and businesses are faced with continued layoffs and re-organizations, immediate steps have to be taken to deal with orphaned account accesses, changing roles and responsibilities, need for strong authentication and more.
  • Manageable IT Projects - With tight budgets, IT organizations are looking for short term tactical projects that can have direct impact on the business. Multi-year strategic projects are more likely to be delayed given the lower threshold for risk and potential disruption to the organization. Identity management projects that would have required major restructuring of IT infrastructures and significant changes to the user workflow are being replaced with more tactical projects that are narrower in scope and easier to deploy. Frequently, we see businesses focusing on more tactical projects such as layering strong authentication or adding Single Sign-On that can be accomplished within weeks and months - and with more apparent returns than projects that need years to complete.

On Wednesday, January 14th, we're hosting a webinar roundtable discussion with Dave Kearns of Network World and several customers to discuss the changing security landscape in 2009 and how these customers will tackle some of the issues above. We encourage you all to tune in and participate and share your ideas for 2009. If you can't attend, feel free to email me about the issues your businesses is facing. What do you think the greatest challenges will be in 2009?