By Sathya Ashok
Nominations to NME Innovation Awards 2008 and other factors clearly show that end-users have the power to drive the IT market in the Middle East
Having just finished the thin clients article for the March issue of NME, it is interesting to note that many enterprises in the region are warming to server based computing and deploying it in increasing numbers. According to industry experts, these implementations are occurring across vertical sectors and include call centres, government organisations, education and healthcare among others. (Read more about thin clients and what enterprises should watch out for when making the move in the next issue of NME).
What is even more interesting is the fact that the final convincing arguments towards thin clients for most of these enterprises centre on security. With server based computing, firms have the option of information consolidation inside the datacentre. By moving all apps to the server and restricting user access to a desktop image on a dumb device, enterprises ensure that their data and information enjoys a higher level of security than can be provided in traditional PC environments. Vendors claim that while power consumption and increased user control are all considered by enterprises, it is the element of effective security that often tips the balance in the direction of thin clients.
This displays not only a very keen sense of enterprise security among IT managers in the region, but also the fact that they are consciously considering technologies and products in the light of the protection it can provide information. Apart from being indicative of a healthy trend towards market maturity, this consciousness is also guiding vendors in the region to create products that fit the requirements.
This is true not only for solutions, but also for processes. End-users like Zain Telecom in Kuwait are testimony to a growing number of regional enterprises who are taking security measures into their own hands and putting in place risk management measures to understand their vulnerability areas and address them in the most effective fashion. What's more, the entire process cycle was started with the firm's desire to get ISO 27001 certified. (For more on how Zain went about assessing its vulnerabilities, refer to the April issue of NME).
End-users like Zain display a sharpened awareness of their organisation's need for security and also that if they demand it, vendors will provide it. In other words, armed with the right knowledge, enterprise IT managers and teams have the power to change the rules of the game and extract from solution providers exactly what they need. This story is consistent across the security nominations that have been coming in for NME Innovation Awards 2008. Each deployment or process implementation has an astute end-user driving it, keeping a sharp eye on it and providing relevant inputs wherever necessary.
Certainly security solutions are enjoying a hey-day in the Middle East as enterprise users tap into their own strengths and use it to demand the best from regional vendors. I only hope that this increasing maturity in the defence of their information spreads to cover all of infrastructure deployment and management.
Meanwhile, you can still nominate for NME Innovation Awards 2008. If you know of an interesting implementation, trend-setting end-user or of a solution, log onto www.itp.net/events/nmeawards08, choose your category and send in your entry.
If you have any doubts, feel free to mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Good luck!