Get ready for tighter IT regulation, says Gartner

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The IT world is set to become more tightly regulated, according to Gartner.

Richard Hunter, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, said his firm predicted three years ago that either catastrophic IT failures or continuing low level problems would lead to more regulation for IT products and services by 2015 to 2018 in the European Union, and 2015 in the US.

"Although the exact date of arrival for regulation is difficult to predict, we believe that, in recent months, the tempo and intensity of the indications of such an event have increased," Hunter said.

Regulation will be seen as necessary to correct current failings in IT. Gartner said recent hacking attacks against governments, as well as US and UK government statements, suggest that "the state of IT security is now viewed as unacceptably dangerous."

On top of those troubles, regulating software manufacturers and other IT operators will be seen as one way of protecting people as health care records are digitised and more people push personal data onto social networks.

"All these events are taking place within a global climate that is shifting towards regulation on many fronts," said Hunter.

Gartner opted to sit on the fence regarding regulation, saying it was neither for more laws nor against them. Either way, the EU is clearly in favour, and the analyst firm predicted the body will start to regulate consumer IT products and services within two years.

Because of this, Gartner advised the IT world to get ready now and realise that quality, certified products will be the way forward.

Enterprises could stand to benefit as, like consumers, they'll be given a clearer idea of which products are safe for their own use - but should keep in mind that regulations could start to affect them, too, Gartner warned.