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'Computers might be able to steal our mind and tamper with thought processes': ISACA VP

Divina Paredes | June 3, 2014
ISACA vice president Marc Vael lists the top trends impacting IT audit and risk professionals

Information is emerging as the most important business asset of the 21st century, says Marc Vael, international vice president for ISACA, the association of risk management professionals.

"We are currently experiencing a hyper exponential period of change to digital infrastructure, and as a result it is inexplicitly changing the IT landscape," he tells CIO New Zealand.

Technology is evolving so fast, the challenge for risk professionals is to keep up, he says. "People used to say 'I know IT', even 'I know IT risks'. Now this is very difficult."

Vael lists the five key trends emerging that are impacting IT audit and IT risk professionals, requiring executives to adapt in order to manage and protect the business.

Trend one: The Internet of Everything
Devices today are becoming connected with everything else — from mobile phone to television and even refrigerators.

In 2011, there were 15 billion connected things — and this is expected to increase to 30 billion by 2020, according to ABI Research.

Key emerging technologies are embedded sensors, image recognition and NFC (near field communication). Wearable smart electronics within clothing, shoes, accessories and even tattoos are likely to become a $10 billion industry by 2016, according to Gartner.

He says there are four implications of this trend for IT and IT risk professionals:

  • Device controls and well thought-out design is vital for trust and value
  • Device failures are real
  • IT audits of the 'Internet of Everything' will be required via automated IT audit devices
  • Additional training for IT professionals will be required.

Trend two: Private memory
Neuro-technology is increasing whereby people's mind can be used as a way to communicate with a computer. Therefore, you don't need to use your hands or eyes, as thought power will drive the technology, he states. "Companies are increasingly developing solutions to suit. But there is a risk that a computer might be able to 'steal our minds' and tamper with thought processes."

Trend three: 3D printing
3D printing

Vael says 3D printing is the next step for a lot of companies, particularly for those in the medical and automotive sectors. Human printing is also advancing, with companies working on how to design human printing, for instance, to help burn victims.

This can solve a lot of issues to enhance treatment, but there are also risks, he points out. "End products need to be verified and IT needs to enable authenticity checks and controls. For example, guns can now be printed via 3D printing! In the wrong hands this could have terrible consequences. With bio printing — concerns surround handling inventory, and ensuring quality is maintained.


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