Photo: Vic Mankotia
Bob Dylan's 1960s classic tune "The Times They Are A-Changin'" couldn't be more relevant today, as organisations find themselves under pressure to adapt to today's application economy. This has significantly impacted the information technology sector, where transformation has created a fertile ground for disruptive technologies that increasingly challenge the status quo.
However, the challenge is not merely new business models; it is broader with the heightening urgency to adopt new agile thinking at the project level. While at the heart of the issue is the application, at the forefront of the conversation is balance: the balance between innovation, market share and margins, and just as importantly, the fine red line between risk, information security and the application economy, where every business is a software business.
We live in the application economy where businesses and most form factors are digital first. This is pervasive with mobile apps reshaping everything, from the way we make dinner to even how we plan our retirement.
With businesses increasingly interacting with customers through apps as their main touchpoint, enterprises will rely more on application programming interfaces (APIs) to manage access to their data over mobile devices or cloud-based services for partners and third-party developers. However, opening on-premise data and applications to third parties via APIs can raise a range of serious security concerns if not thought through properly.
The rise of the application economy has driven organisations across the world to assess their traditional use of APIs — the building blocks of this application economy — and explore how both internal and external data can be leveraged to open new revenue opportunities.
Security as an enabler
Over the past year, the era of digital transformation has received as much or even more attention than any other business topic. Given the massive changes we have seen in sectors spanning media, advertising, taxi services and retail, to name a few, there is speculation that similar shifts will spread across the wider economy.
The concept of digital and information security used to be about command and control. However, that perspective has evolved. Even though infrastructure security such as firewalls, intrusion prevention and correlation is still needed, security should now be seen as more of an enabler.
The issue of security is still spoken about in terms of cybersecurity, attacks, malware and breaches. Having the right infrastructure security is vital, but in an age where microservices can enable APIs to use information generated from sensors, a new parameter around identity prevails. The business strategies and options for how to play in the future value chain are the same strategic decisions that organisations have always needed, and they remain unchanged. What's new and different is the magnitude of potential business disruption and transformation via fresh new waves of disruptive technologies.
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