Cyber Security: A Continued Challenge In 2014

By Gary P. Scholten, SVP & CIO, Principal Financial Group

Gary P. Scholten, SVP & CIO, Principal Financial Group

User expectations and cyber security –The challenge

One good challenge that companies are facing is that our customers’ user experience expectations are growing. Their experience with Amazon, Apple and others is shaping expectations for all digital interactions. This customer demand will promote innovation related to tools and development processes.

Cyber security will continue to be a big challenge for all IT organizations in 2014. The fact that so many consumers were touched by the large Denial of Service attacks and retail credit card theft in 2013 will bring much more attention to cyber risks. My wish list would be to have continued increases and improvement in threat information sharing going forward—eventually getting to the point that the information would enable realistic real-time white listing approaches to cyber security.

"The state-of-the-art approaches positively expose our business processes, systems and data that would not have been possible"

Optimized application stacks

Technology industry consolidation has provided benefits to IT organizations—one of which is optimized application stacks that take advantage of integrated infrastructure, middleware and business application products. In spite of the real gains in application performance and potential for simplification of support that this model offers, it does make us dependent upon the vendors for providing effective monitoring, selfhealing and integration capabilities that many haven’t delivered. That will be critical to help IT organizations deal with the exponential growth in overall complexity of our technology environments that we are all dealing with.

“API Economy” Impact in 2014 and beyond

A trend that we think will have a big impact in 2014 and beyond is using technology to seamlessly integrate companies to deliver products, services and sales. A term that is being used to describe this trend is the “API Economy”. New business and technology design techniques are being used to drive partnerships between companies that would not have been possible in the recent past. A good example of this trend is The Principal’s capabilities delivered in 2013 to support Third Party Administrators, organizations that sell and service retirement plans for smaller employers. We have enabled some of our best-in-class retirement service capabilities and processes to these important partners. The state-of-the-art approaches positively expose our business processes, systems and data that would not have been possible a short while ago. This has deepened our relationship with this critical sales channel of our target market.

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