Organisations to crowdsource security: Deloitte

Wearable computers also make 2014 tech trends list

A person’s social connections could one day provide better ID verification than passports, according to Deloitte.

“We see the role of social networks actually becoming core to corporates’ and governments’ response to cybersecurity,” according to Robert Hillard, a Deloitte managing partner.

Deloitte today released its annual its annual Tech Trends report for 2014. In an interview with Computerworld Australia, Hillard highlighted social media as an important enabler for organisations and predicted its role would expand this year.

Also read: Enterprise to try on smart glasses in 2014: Deloitte

For cybersecurity, “social networks are more secure than national passports,” he said.

Once a passport is successfully faked, the holder does not have to continually revalidate his or her identity, said Hillard.

On the other hand, to have a false identity on social networks, “you have to maintain the false identity permanently,” he said.

“If you’re on a social network and you are constantly connected to other people ... it is almost impossible for you to maintain a false identity without someone calling you out because it’s too visible.”

Hillard acknowledged there have been concerns about the security of social media networks and predicted that the major social networks will continue to be hacked in 2014.

“I’m not arguing that their physical security is greater than a passport system,” he said. “What I’m arguing is that there is a huge advantage in cybersecurity to constant validation of who I am as opposed to a one-off challenge and response model.”

“You’re crowdsourcing the security.”

The slow rise of wearables

Deloitte predicts that organisations will start to play with smart watches and eyewear in 2014, but it will be a long time before they are business critical, said Hillard.

“Wearables will take decades to hit their full potential, but what we’re seeing in 2014 is wearable technology is mature enough to have commercial applications,” he said.

“It will be experimental technology in 2014 and 2015 as people get used to it.”

Adoption of wearables has been slow so far in part because it has different economics than past kinds of computing technologies, said Hillard.

“The assumption that it’s another wave of computing has a fundamental problem in that previous waves of computing – mainframe, mid-range PCs and arguably the first generation of smartphones – relied heavily upon the Moore’s Law for an increase in production capability, which then allowed for a generation of innovation.”

“Wearables and the Internet of Things rely much more heavily on network connectivity,” he said. “That means we’re not seeing the same increase in technology capability and it’s one of the reasons you’ve seen some hiccups in the rollout of wearable technology.”

There has also been a chicken and egg problem in that wearables are most useful when there are things in the environment with which to interact, he said.

Wearables work best when they can communicate with sensors in the environment. Relying on artificial intelligence in the device to interpret the world is often less successful, he said.

Hillard predicted that wearables will take off in the payments industry when they can completely replace the traditional checkout process at stores.

“It has to be at the point where the device I wear and the products I buy can talk to each other so the act of walking out of the store with the goods is an act of purchase.”

For the engineering industry, he predicted wearables will catch on “when the person who is doing a piece of work is interacting with a piece of equipment that can identify itself adequately to the wearable device.”

Such applications won’t happen right away, with one side of the equation likely to grow faster than the other.

He compared the situation to the adoption of barcode scanners. “We had at least five years where barcodes were on products and there were virtually no scanners out there.”

Adam Bender covers telco and enterprise tech issues for Computerworld and is the author of a dystopian novel about surveillance. Follow him on Twitter: @WatchAdam

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