More IT Regulation: Is It A Good Thing For CIOs?

by drjim on August 4, 2010

Could more laws actually make a CIOs life easier?

Could more laws actually make a CIOs life easier?

Software is all around us. CIOs depend on it to keep the company up and running. If for some reason, a company’s critical applications stop running, run incorrectly, or divulge private data to bad guys, there’s a good chance that the company is going to quickly have a new CIO. If only there was some way to make software more reliable so that CIO’s could spend their time focusing on the things that really matter…

3 Possible Futures For Software

You would think that CIOs would have already used their collective influence to get software vendors to do the right thing. However, as system outages that still exist today clearly show – this has not happened. Thomas Smedinghoff is a lawyer who studies science and technology law. According to Smedinghoff, there are three possible futures for how software vendors are going to be required to do a better job of supporting CIOs:

  1. Increased legal obligations for software vendors to do a better job of ensuring that their applications and associated communications are secure.
  2. A much bigger responsibility to tell the world when there is a security breach.
  3. Defining just what is meant by “reasonable security” and then ensuring that every application provides at least this level of protection.

What’s Coming Down The Road

This of course leads a CIO to the next question: which one of these future possibilities is going to happen (or will it be all of them?) Smedinghoff points out that little by little, the responsibility to disclose when a personal data breech occurs is getting written into laws in each state.
Legal scholars are predicting that within the next 10 years or so CIOs should expect that their IT vendors will be required by law to improve both the security as well as the quality of their software applications. Toyota’s recent car troubles may end up representing a first step in this direction.
Where does all of this lead to? Once again those legal scholars are predicting that by 2015 we should expect software vendors to find themselves being required to clearly specify their products capabilities as well as their limitations. What will give these words some bite is that they will have had to be verified by 3rd party certification firms.

What All Of This Means For You

When you become CIO, running an IT department will be much different than it is today. While that is good news, it also means that you’re going to have a different set of tasks that you’re going to have to do.
Gone will be the days in which you had to spend so much time and energy just keeping applications up and running not to mention secure. Now you’ll be spending a lot more time during the selection process doing double checks to make sure that each vendor’s product truly has been verified and certified by reputable 3rd party firms.
Yes, your life as a CIO will have become much more manageable because you should experience fewer fire drills. However, you had better start getting ready to become a good fact checker so that you choose the right vendor after all the rules have been changed…

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills

Question For You: Do you think that these new IT regulations will cause the cost of software to increase?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Times they are a changing. Once upon a time a CIO only had to worry about making sure the email servers stayed up and everyone thought that he / she was doing a great job. That’s no longer enough. Now CIOs are viewed as being the hub of a company’s new media activities – generating, transmitting, storing, and ultimately archiving more and more information. Do you know what you need to be doing?

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