Will IT security be easy in 2016 or 2046?

Summary:My calculations tell me that by 2016, tech security will be as easy as flicking a light switch.

Securing your IT infrastructure, whether you look after five, 5,000 or 50,000 computers, is a complicated process. But my calculations tell me that by 2016, tech security will be as easy as flicking a light switch or turning on a gas cooker.

Speak to any security expert about how to make your IT infrastructure more secure and they will probably start babbling on about risk management and layered defences.

It seems that the more someone knows about security, the less they talk about firewalls, antivirus, encryption etc.

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Larry Bridwell, who is the global security strategist at Grisoft -- the company responsible for AVG. During a very amusing luncheon on Thursday, he compared IT security to the electricity and gas industries when they were still in their infancy.

"When we first started using gas to warm and light houses ... it was normal practice to burn down a house. It took about 40 years to learn how to build better conduits for the gas, better lamps and better heaters.

"When we first got electricity, we electrocuted people on a very regular basis. It was just the way it was. We learned how to regulate and we learned how to build devices that worked. We learned about insulation and how to properly wire homes," he said.

He said the same thing happened in aviation: "Planes dropped out of the sky like flies for years ... it took about 50 years and enough regulation -- it is relatively safe now".

According to Bridwell, in about 40 years, IT and IT security will not be complicated -- at least not for the vast majority of users. This is because regulations and advancements in technology will mean that vulnerabilities are reduced and systems become inherently safe.

However, I don't think he was taking into account that IT is evolving at a much faster pace than either the electricity or gas industries. If there are four Internet years in a human year then it will only take about 10 years before IT is as mature as the electricity and gas industries are now.

Back in the days when this new fangled electricity thing was electrocuting people on a regular basis we were still waiting for someone to realise that protecting wires with plastic insulation sleeves might help.

These days, a story about someone discovering it's a bad idea to check for a gas leak with a match might be considered humorous. I hope that the thought of updating antivirus signatures is met with the same reaction come 2016.

Topics: Security

About

Munir first became involved with online publishing in 1998 when he joined ZDNet UK and later moved into print publishing as Chief Reporter for IT Week, part of ZDNet UK, a weekly trade newspaper targeted at Enterprise IT managers. He later moved back into online publishing as Senior News Reporter for ZDNet UK.Munir was recognised as Austr... Full Bio

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