2011 saw the untimely death of Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, and as we recognized his many accomplishments, the full impact he left on the world is still hard to believe. While his loss will certainly reverberate across Apple Corporation and the tech industry as a whole, I wondered what message this visionary man left the security industry.

Jobs blended technology foresight and innovative design ideas with marketing skills and business acumen. He wrapped these attributes around a vision of how technology could be used, and then delivered products with an uncompromising attention to detail. He saw the future of where technology is going and the security industry should pay close attention or risk missing the next big opportunity.

Aside from delivering data, music and movies on an expanding universe of cool devices, Apple’s genius is in making the access of that content fun for adults and intuitive for children. Beyond product cycles, Apple demonstrates the ability to educate the populous about how to “use” technology.

This is the secret of success behind the Apple stores, which generate 40 percent of new customer business for the company. The fact that the stores originated at the same time their competitors where actually closing their own retail outlets, speaks to the strength of better marketing execution. The Apple App Store (online) also puts the power of solution development in the hands of its customers. Apple has paid billions in commissions to this army of outside app developers…genius.

Steve Jobs also left a very visible message and critical roadmap for the future of the high tech industry. It accelerates the convergence of physical security and information technology while positioning the industry with a model to protect the digital information so vital to the success of society. Have you figured it out yet?

Perhaps the most important message Jobs left us was delivered in late 2007.

Apple Computer dropped the word “Computer” from its name to become Apple Corporation. In June of 2011, Jobs made one of his last public appearances and announced the Apple iCloud, “This is the cloud the way it should be: automatic and effortless. iCloud is seamlessly integrated into your apps, so you can access your content on all your devices. And it’s free with iOS 5.”

Mobile devices accessing digital content over the cloud, securely and immediately. Apple products and now the iCloud model have started the disintermediation cycle of desktop computing and will ultimately dilute the power of the IT organization. The only way to secure 5 billion handheld devices, growing to 12 billion by 2014 (Gartner), is to manage security access via the cloud model. Without securing digital content, nothing else matters. Consider the future applications of traditional security practice over the cloud — or iCloud if you prefer. Imagine police officers accessing information about their destination while in route, (geo-location, video camera control, occupants, prior arrest history, vehicle information, etc.) and then utilizing iPhones for digital photos, biometric identification, and automated reporting — all in real time via the cloud and acting as a force multiplier from a productivity perspective.

Perimeter security and detection technologies integrating video surveillance, database technologies, sensors, lighting and alarms, and access control solutions over the cloud. Paid for from a monthly operating budget, and leveraging the recurring revenue model that video surveillance and burglar alarm monitoring services enjoy today. The cloud opens the market to more customers. Mobile devices in the cloud. Steve Jobs gave you the roadmap for the future of the security industry. Apple Computer is now Apple, period. Think different!