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The top five most important midmarket technology trends of the year

We compiled the most important technology trends of 2007 for midmarket CIOs. We didn't overlook a one, but perhaps you did. Read on.

In covering IT for midmarket CIOs, we see it all. But there are some stories that just keep rearing their heads and, as a result, topped our headlines throughout the year. Here's our list of stories covering the most important technology trends of 2007.

1. IT security gets personal.

Let's face it. IT security tops everyone's list. But for the midmarket CIO, it got personal in 2007 -- many who hadn't thought about security before were feeling uneasy about the lack of security policies within their organization. But it was their own employees downloading unsanctioned applications that put them at the biggest risk by introducing malware to their networks via instant messaging (IM) tools. And a real eye-opener: Spam filters alone were no longer protection enough.

Related stories:

Trojans target online gamers, put businesses at risk
Chances are you've got employees playing online games at work. But they're not just wasting time -- they're also putting your systems at risk.

Despite filters, spam continues to wage war on businesses
Businesses are using more spam filters, but unwanted emails continue to cost them big bucks in lost productivity.

Laptop-tracking technology rarely used among SMBs
Laptop theft isn't just a problem for large, high-profile companies. IP-based laptop-tracking technology can help SMBs, too.

IT rank and file nervous about inadequate security
IT's rank and file are just as concerned about being used as the company scapegoat in the event of a major security breach as CIOs -- maybe more so. Many believe that when under pressure, the stressed-out CIO will point the finger at them.

Spyware menace eludes SMBs
A new survey from security vendor Webroot has found that SMBs are more worried about viruses than spyware, leaving them open to a more insidious and costly threat.

Antispyware bill OK'd by House, OK with businesses
The U.S. House of Representatives passed antispyware legislation aimed at criminals, but it eschewed imposing regulations on businesses that use spyware for legitimate purposes.

IM malware creeping upward
Blogger Shamus McGillicuddy wonders if security vendors are just fueling paranoia when they pitch reporters on the significant rise they see in IM malware attacks. Still, he's not taking any chances.

2. Software as a Service (SaaS) gets midmarket approval.

There are some stories that cause us to stop and ask, "Tell me again why this is important?" -- despite our aggressive coverage. SaaS was a hot topic for midmarket CIOs -- not because it was new but because so many vendors were pushing it. Despite slow adoption rates among midmarket companies, vendors saw this as a hot-button issue (and huge revenue possibility), shifting their efforts from the large enterprise to the midmarket. Still, midmarket CIOs remained unconvinced that SaaS was all it was cracked up to be and held steadfast over security concerns.

Related stories:

SaaS adoption rate by SMBs underrated
SMBs overcome security concerns and begin to readily adopt the on-demand software model.

Integration tricky for SMBs using multiple SaaS apps
SMBs want SaaS to be a bigger part of the fabric of their IT infrastructure, but integration can be tricky.

SaaS potential lures hosting service provider into midmarket
A leading hosting and managed service provider decides to make an aggressive play for the midmarket with a new suite of SaaS business applications.

Offline SaaS applications on the rise
As more companies rely on a mobile workforce, SaaS vendors are heeding the call. A growing number are offering offline clients that can synchronize with online SaaS applications.

Symantec enters SaaS market with an eye on SMBs
Symantec's forthcoming Symantec Protection Network will offer SaaS products to small and medium-sized businesses.

SMB SaaS sales robust, but holdouts remain
Are SMBs really that into SaaS, or are vendors and analysts pushing it when they say SaaS is taking the market by storm?

SMBs sample SaaS via telecoms
Telecom XO Communications has announced a new, SMB-focused partnership with Jamcracker, a wholesaler of SaaS technology. Analysts say more telecoms will try to offer SMBs IT services with such deals.

SaaS apps being deployed by business units, not IT
When it comes to deploying applications via SaaS, IT is still behind the curve. What's preventing IT from getting control over the programs business units want?

3. CIO careers are made (or broken) over business expertise and credibility.

There isn't a midmarket CIO out there who isn't thinking about moving up or moving out. And the interest in career stories never wanes. But in 2007 there were issues addressed that hit a nerve among CIOs, such as age discrimination. The stories that resonated across all age groups, salary levels and company sizes dealt with job longevity and how it paralyzed CIOs' job performance.

Business skills, or the lack thereof, was also a hot-button issue among midmarket CIOs, many of whom said acquiring business expertise would be a top priority in 2008. And if you read nothing else on careers this year, you have to read our Salary Survey Report, which gives data on what 1,000 of your peers said about the correlation between job satisfaction and money.

Related stories:

IT job rotation rare, but critical for business alignment
Giving up good employees to other business units within an organization has likely soured more than a few managers, but experts say CIOs concerned about staffing should seriously consider formal IT job rotation programs.

Short CIO tenures paralyze IT
Companies with unstable CIO positions are short-sheeting not only IT, but their business objectives as well. Want long-term success? Keep your CIO.

Lack of IT expertise could stall small business growth
A new survey finds that a successful IT strategy is a key element in small companies that experience significant growth. Salary and Careers Special Report
Salaries and bonuses for SMB IT executives are on the rise -- as are perks for those with MBAs. Learn what else we found out in the Salary and Careers Survey.

4. Web 2.O becomes the must-have tech tool for midmarket CIOs.

For a long time, this seemed like much ado about nothing to midmarket CIOs -- but 2007 changed all that. New technologies quickly transformed Web 2.0 into a must-have for midmarket organizations. But with all the enthusiasm came issues, such as wanting to control the applications instead of following renegade users. Upshot: Many CIOs are threatened by Web 2.0. We let a Harvard professor explain that one.

Related stories:

Web 2.0: CIOs want it their way
A new study found CIOs want Web 2.0 technology, but they're a little insecure about getting it from emerging specialized vendors.

Time to wake up to Web 2.0
A room full of IT managers, and not one of them is using Web 2.0. Moreover, half of them don't know what Web 2.0 is. What's going on?

Web 2.0 -- An existential threat to traditional IT?
Why haven't some IT departments adopted Web 2.0 yet? One Harvard Business School professor says it's because IT isn't ready to relinquish control to users.

Blog: I draw the line at Candy Making 2.0
Blogger Jeff Kelly is fed up with attempts by marketing machines to ride the Web 2.0 wagon. Will IT types really flock to your conference if you brand it with a 2.0 crown?

5. Sarbanes-Oxley compliance demands get a little easier to swallow.

There should be nothing newsworthy here. After all, Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) compliance has been in place for years now. But for midmarket CIO, well, they've been running but can no longer hide. Still, small businesses remained hopeful there would be some reprieve from SEC deadlines, but that wasn't to be -- until just a few weeks ago, when the Securities and Exchange Commission buckled under election-year pressure. OK. You've been cut some slack, but it will catch up with you soon enough. Still, it is costing less to be compliant, if you already have good practices in place -- and someone to guide the way.

Related stories:

Sarbanes-Oxley 404 exemption defeat means status quo for SMBs
The U.S. Senate snuffed out a Republican-led effort to loosen Sarbanes-Oxley compliance rules for SMBs. Some experts dismiss the 62-35 vote as political posturing. The real deal will come from the SEC and the PCAOB, promised SEC Chairman Christopher Cox.

SEC makes good on promise to clarify guidance on SOX
The SEC makes good on long-promised new guidance for the bugaboo of Sarbanes-Oxley, Section 404.

Sarbanes-Oxley compliance costs drop, better processes credited
A new survey found that Sarbanes-Oxley compliance is getting cheaper. Technology is a big part of it, experts say.

SOX extension granted, but auditor role still unclear
Who knew? After months of bickering about extensions and an adamant no from the SEC, an extension for small businesses has in fact been granted.

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