Symantec Corp. announced its security and storage predictions for 2011 based on what its security and storage experts are observing in the information protection landscape.

Today's organizations are overloaded with information as data grows exponentially. Almost daily, a new technology is either announced or brought to market with the promise of making the cost of doing business lower, more convenient and more timely.

"Given today's stagnant and declining IT budgets, it's imperative that organizations achieve more value from their IT spending," said Steve Morton, vice president, enterprise product marketing, Symantec. 'By understanding challenges, risks and threats, organizations can plan and implement strategic technology initiatives such as virtualization, mobile security, encryption, backup and recovery, archiving and cloud computing to protect and manage their information more efficiently.'

As technologies become smarter and faster, the threats to these technological assets follow suit, the report says. For example, the exponential consumer adoption of smart mobile devices will increasingly result in these devices making their way into enterprises through the back door, blurring the lines between business and personal use, and driving new IT security models to market in 2011.

In addition, the report noted that although many companies believe the information and applications within their virtual infrastructure are protected, many IT administrators will face the harsh reality that they are not in 2011. The rapid adoption, fragmented implementation and lack of standardization of virtual infrastructures will continue to expose gaps in the security, backup and high availability of virtual environments. Although virtualization decreases server costs, organizations are realizing that virtualization is simultaneously increasing management and storage costs, and without a plan to protect these environments, they may not realize the full return on investment.

The exponential level of data growth is impeding organizations' ability to effectively manage and recover data. In 2011, storage administrators must regain control of information, lose their 'pack-rat' mentality and categorize what information is most important for retention purposes. Otherwise, says the report, storage costs will continue to skyrocket, and organizations will face extensive recovery times and be unable to comply with regulatory compliance standards, including privacy laws, and e-Discovery.

Additionally, says the report, as data goes 'mobile' and becomes less centralized, regulators will start cracking down in 2011, which will drive organizations to increasingly implement encryption technologies, particularly for mobile devices.

The Next Generation Data Center of 2011

As organizations continue to manage with limited resources in 2011 while facing more intelligent and specific threats, IT will take a more strategic and innovative approach to solving problems. While software will continue to drive innovation, 2011 will bring new delivery models in response to customers' need to ease IT operations. Cloud computing, hosted services and appliances are examples of increasingly attractive delivery models that will change the landscape of today's data center by providing organizations with flexibility and ease of deployment.

Organizations will leverage public and private clouds as they become highly available in the coming year, the report notes. Tools will also emerge to manage this new, complex storage environment and to help IT administrators better understand and capture information about unstructured data that resides within it. This will allow IT to fully utilize the benefits of the cloud and intelligently report to management. While customers opt to take advantage of cloud messaging services, they are still finding that they can drive greater cost out of the discovery process by keeping their archives in-house. This hybrid cloud archiving model allows organizations to use hosted messaging services while keeping their archives on-premise. This way, says the report, they can combine email with other on-premise content sources like PSTs, IM and SharePoint that are relevant to the discovery process.