Last year saw the real start of the tablet with the iPad, however 2011 is set to be the year of the tablet as competitors rush to come out with credible alternatives.

The interesting challenge with the tablet is that, whilst conceived primarily as a consumer tool, more and more businesses are looking to adopt the technology from a corporate perspective. Companies like Mercedes Benz, Morgan Stanley, Lloyds of London and SAP are adopting the iPad for business use. So, what does this mean for CIOs?

If end-user devices are becoming increasingly location agnostic, then it stands to reason that the location of the data, software and additional computing power is also far less relevant, and perhaps the stronghold of the M25 data centre cluster in the UK may one day be broken in favour of facilities in the regions. Data storage and servers need no longer be an additional expense in prime locations where office space is often at a premium price.

Alongside this mobilising of the workforce, the market for cloud computing is entering a phase of more rational assessment.

Datacentres are set to hold an ever increasing percentage of corporations' information. Whilst this can help to bring down the costs of IT, it does throw up a different set of concerns for CIOs wanted to keep the business running smoothly.

Continuity of power and resilient operating systems are the benchmarks for the operation of any data centre, but as critical as these issues are, they have to take place under the umbrella of a secure operating environment.

My personal preference is for a rigorously tested two stage security regime implemented both between the perimeter fence and facility, and between different data halls. However, security is ultimately only as good as the personnel and operational procedures in place.

As data can now be spread across a greater number of locations, issues such as sharing of data centre space through collocation options and secure access to fibre networks are becoming as important as site security itself.

With the advent of increasingly varied multi-platform access routes in to your networks, how you succeed in safeguarding your data, how you manage risk strategically, and the decisions you make on implementing those solutions, will continue to be an issue that keeps IT executives awake at night.

Guy Marsden is a director at Highbridge Properties 

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