What Do CIOs Really Care About?

What keeps the average CIO awake at night? This year, it’s data security, cloud services and the network.

Earlier this week, a handful of Avaya’s top technologists headed to the CIO Forum in San Francisco to meet one-on-one with Silicon Valley CIOs, listen to their business challenges and share Avaya’s vision for engagement everywhere.

Consistently, the top priority for CIOs who attended the Forum this year was keeping corporate data secure.

That’s increasingly challenging, as employees bring their own devices and productivity apps into the enterprise. Most CIOs admit that they have no idea how many smartphones and tablets are in the office at any given time, or whether sensitive corporate data (such as emails and customer information) resides on those devices.

Similarly, employees are adopting unsanctioned work apps—or, in the case of a number of recent, high-profile data breaches—storing sensitive data on simple, unsecured spreadsheets.

The employee-led consumerization of the enterprise is borne out of good intentions: People simply want to engage with their work and their colleagues easily and more organically. That power comes with peril—companies need to be able to keep their data secure.

Avaya has introduced a number of products designed to help bridge the gap between power and peril, and will continue to invest in the space. Among those innovations: the Avaya Engagement Development Platform, which allows companies to share contextual data with employees in a secure environment. On the data center side, Avaya Fabric Connect is a stealth network, designed to help companies keep their endpoints secure.

CIOs continue their steady march to the cloud, particularly with subscription-based, hosted technology services. Managed cloud services allow companies to smooth out their technology purchasing budgets, by simply paying a flat monthly rate for services.

Interest remains high around software-defined networking, as companies look to improve the performance of their legacy networks. The majority of network outages are due to errors in the legacy core, mostly due to complex, hop-by-hop configurations.

Actual implementations of SDN remain in their infancy. At the CIO Forum, just two CIOs reported that they were trialing SDN in their data centers, despite the technology’s clear operational benefits—faster provisioning, easier deployments and significantly less downtime.

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