IT supply chain integrity will be top security concern by 2017

by CXOtoday News Desk    Oct 18, 2012

Supply Chain SecurityEnterprise IT supply chains will be targeted and compromised, forcing changes in the structure of the IT marketplace and how IT will be managed moving forward, according to Gartner, Inc. By 2017, IT supply chain integrity will be identified as a top three security-related concern by Global 2000 IT leaders.

These findings are produced as part of Gartner’s Maverick research. Maverick research is designed to spark new, unconventional insights. Maverick research is unconstrained by our typical broad consensus-formation process to deliver breakthrough, innovative and disruptive ideas from our research incubator.

Supply chain integrity is the process of managing an organization’s internal capabilities, as well as its partners and suppliers, to ensure all elements of an integrated solution are of high assurance. The need for integrity in the IT supply chain is necessary, whether the solution is developed in-house or purchased from a third party.

“IT supply chain integrity issues are real, and will have mainstream enterprise IT impact within the next five years,” said Neil MacDonald, research vice president and Gartner Fellow. “In the shorter term, the market for information security offerings will fragment along geopolitical lines. In the longer term, the same will happen for OSs and other IT system infrastructure software, reshaping the IT landscape moving forward.”

The IT supply chain has become more complex, fine-grained, globally distributed and volatile in the sense that rapid change provides the opportunity to introduce compromises. Hardware vendors are increasingly outsourcing not just manufacturing, but also design to OEM suppliers and contractors located in Asia and India. In some cases, established Asian suppliers are outsourcing to emerging economies, such as Brazil, Vietnam and Indonesia. This is a complex problem, since most hardware systems are a conglomeration of components and subsystems procured from a large number of individual providers.

However, Gartner analysts said most hardware systems include software-based elements (at a minimum, firmware and drivers), with the trend to shift more intelligence out of hardware and into software. In an information- and software-based economy, IT supply chain integrity must extend to include the following:

Software supply chains — This includes components, frameworks, middleware, language platforms, virtual machines (VMs) and operating systems (OSs), but also the software infrastructure and environment for software distribution and updates (such as DNS, identity, application store packaging and digital certificates).