2018 will be year when cyber security comes to the fore
IF the past few years have taught us anything, it's perhaps that every company is now a technology company, no matter what product or service it provides.
You can't make, deliver or market a product or service without using technology. Companies that know the coming trends and adapt quickly are the ones that get ahead. So here are some of the key IT trends that we are likely to see in 2018.
If 2017 was the year when cyber-attacks hit the headlines, 2018 looks set to be the year when cyber security really comes to the fore.
WannaCry was one of the most high profile cyber incidents of the past 12 months. It was a strain of ransomware that spread around the world, impacting hundreds of thousands of organisations, including large companies and public sector bodies - perhaps most notably the NHS.
But even with massive outbreaks like this making global news, most organisations continued to rely on a strategy of detection and response after an attack has occurred rather than prevention. That, though, could be about to change significantly in 2018.
One of the big trends of 2018 will see organisations seeking to really understand emerging threats and implementing the latest prevention techniques and technologies.
We'll see threat detection capabilities embedded into platforms, supporting everything a business does. These will include end-to-end managed security infrastructure. We'll also see security taken a step further. Proactive, predictive analytics will play a central role in helping organisations harness intelligence from data that moves on a network.
We will also probably see the return of ‘zero-trust' models, where businesses require people logging onto their systems to go further to prove who they are. Multi-factor authentication will play a big role in this.
Organisations that get cyber security right will be trusted more than competitors by customers, regulators, investors, shareholders and others. They'll also avoid potential threats that can be a drain on time, energy, resources and confidence.
Cloud services are increasingly becoming an integral aspect of running a business. In the light of that, you should expect data storage to increase exponentially in 2018. A recent report by IDC indicates that worldwide spending on public cloud services and infrastructure will reach $266 billion in 2021. More and more organisations will move to using public cloud storage from the likes of Amazon and Microsoft.
Research by Forrester suggests that 50 percent of enterprises will embrace a public-cloud-first policy in 2018 for data, big data, and analytics, as they look for more control over costs and more flexibility than on-premises software can deliver.
Clever organisations will take appropriate, expert advice on their cloud strategy, so that they get the right solutions through leveraging a portfolio of public cloud, private cloud, and a combination of platforms.
A recent Forrester Research report predicts that in 2018 enterprises will finally move beyond the hype of AI (Artificial Intelligence) to realise that it requires hard work - planning, deploying, and governing it correctly. But Forrester also expects improvements in AI, with better interfaces that facilitate improved human and AI collaboration, as well as other enhancements.
Forrester's research therefore suggests that 70 percent of enterprises will implement AI over the next 12 months, up from 40 percent in 2016 and 51 percent in 2017. Interestingly, the research shows that 20 percent of enterprises say they will deploy AI to make decisions and provide real-time instructions, meaning, for instance, that AI will suggest what to offer customers, recommend terms to give suppliers, and instruct employees on what to say and do — in real time.
Just as the amount of data generated and stored around the world is poised to grow massively in 2018, connections from network providers will also improve. There should be strong movement to full 5G networks, with speeds of 100 megabits per second and above.
This enhanced network quality will increase expectations for highly-responsive, fast-loading services and apps. Savvy business owners will move quickly to re-evaluate and upgrade their platforms to be more responsive.
The Internet of Things and Internet of Everything industries will also benefit from faster network speeds by allowing organisations in this space to receive and deliver data more efficiently in real time. It looks like we are on a path to having 20 billion sensors involved in the IoT globally by 2020.
:: Patrick McAliskey is managing director of Novosco, an indigenous managed cloud company with offices in Belfast, Dublin and Manchester. It employs over 160 people and works for leading organisations across the UK and Ireland, including many of Northern Ireland's top companies, UK health trusts, housing associations and other organisations.