Rumor has it that the personal cloud and the digital workplace will, in the very near future, blend together to provide one source of information and applications, all from one tiny device. According to Gartner, “by 2018, 25 percent of large organizations will have an explicit strategy to make their corporate computing environment similar to a consumer computing experience.” For those who can also see the big picture, this presents some not so unique business problems – namely security, potential rise of data breaches, and inadvertent exposure of confidential information.
Who, or should I say what is going to pull all this together? The Virtual Personal Assistance (VPA) of course. I prefer to tell mine to shut-up unless it is giving me directions, but I’m not a power user. The VPA is supposed to provide pervasive support for both the users’ personal clouds as well as enterprise information. I suppose since Apple, Google, and Microsoft have jumped on the real and potential capabilities of the VPA who am I to say they are wrong?
Let’s get back to security again. Gartner sees the future as multiple VPA’s catering to my every whim. One for personal data, one for work, potentially one for teams or groups, and who knows what else. This approach is to provide IT some control over the enterprise or business VPA, yet allow the personal VPA to co-exist while preventing access to corporate information. What if one of my VPA’s spills the beans to one of my other VPA’s? Who is responsible, me or the VPA? An additional problem that has already come to pass, is the enormous amount of personal information, applications, and non business related data that is flowing freely in the enterprise Internet cloud, most of which, IT doesn’t even know that it exists.
I suppose I find some of this silly, but then I would never describe myself as a visionary. I will try to eagerly await the arrival of my VPA’s. I have already started thinking of names.