Moore’s Law and Security

In case you haven’t noticed, you owe Moore’s Law a belated birthday card. The famed theorem, which set the technology industry’s evolutionary pace by positing that computational power would double every year, turned 50 this year.

We in the technology industry owe a lot to Moore’s Law, as it’s given us the foundation on which to build new technologies, applications, processes, and companies. Fortunes are owed to McAfee co-founder Gordon Moore, whose law has set expectations for what’s to come and when. As a result, we’ve been able to accurately predict the evolutionary steps in computational performance and capabilities.

While we all owe much to Moore’s Law, it’s admittedly a bit of a double-edged sword. The observation has led to more powerful computers and data centers, and it’s made technologies such as mobile and cloud computing possible, but it’s also created new and more potent cyberattacks and enabled hackers to target systems with increasing effectiveness.

For McAfee and our partners, Moore’s Law is a catalyst. The steady, predictable increase in computational power will always bring new applications – hardware, software, and cloud – that come with vulnerabilities. The technology industry has yet to create an impenetrable operating system, application, or infrastructure. It’s incumbent on security practitioners and professionals to stay current with new technologies, understand security measures, and convey that to end users.

Here are the things that security solution providers should do:

  1. Stay Current. Even if you’re not adopting or reselling new and emerging technologies, it’s a good idea to keep pace on what’s being developed and coming out. Your customers will have questions about new applications. It’s best to have a working knowledge of new technologies so you can engage in conversation.
  1. Monitor Customer Technology Adoption. The best way to address a customer’s evolving security needs is to monitor the technologies they’re adopting. The addition of new technologies and resources to their IT fabric is an opportunity to engage in a dialog about security and demonstrate value by proactively moving to protect their investments.
  1. Plan with Customers. Beyond just reacting to customer’s technology adoption, it’s a good idea to remain persistently engaged with customers and plan for their security needs. This helps you maintain relevancy and enables you to act as their trusted advisor. By adopting new technology, customers incur both costs and risks, and planning is a means of mitigating that risk before anything is actually purchased.

The question comes up periodically: When will Moore’s Law reach its limit? When will the pace of computational evolution slow or stop? The answer: Not for the foreseeable future, and that means we security folks need to keep pace or risk becoming obsolete.

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