Technology evolution and innovations are set to change the way the enterprise works in the long term, with more immediate trends posing potential risks to networks.
It’s essential for businesses to be aware of these trends and understand how they can ensure their networks are properly architected and secured, according to Ixia.
Ixia general manager Ardy Sharifnia says businesses should prepare for seven key trends in 2018.
1. IoT risks are here to stay
As the reliance on the Internet of Things (IoT) grows, so will the strain and, ultimately, the potential danger associated with hundreds or even thousands of connected devices with the potential to be compromised and turned into bots.
These growing risks and a general lack of Wi-Fi protection will create a constant stream of vulnerabilities.
The expansion of the attack surface creates new risks for enterprise networks.
Employees working remotely and on unprotected, public networks put the entire organisation at risk from hackers, whether it’s to steal data or recruit devices to be part of a botnet.
2. Employees are still the biggest risk
Significant advancements in firewalls, web application security, and network protection solutions have strengthened security, but employee behaviours remain risky.
Most employees still believe the responsibility to recognise and resist cyberattacks and phishing expeditions lies in the hands of back-office security teams.
Breaches will continue to rise in 2018 as a result of employees’ lack of attention to security.
3. Edge computing is the icing on the cloud cake
Organisations need better cloud security and performance management solutions.
Cloud-washed solutions that were originally designed for the data centre aren’t sufficient and will be replaced by edge computing, a modern form of distributed, decentralised computing that will add value to the cloud.
Edge computing improves cloud efficiency by keeping technology resources like compute, storage, and networking closer to users.
More enterprises will use edge design patterns in their infrastructure architectures to better leverage the benefits of the cloud, without sacrificing speed or reliability.
Adding the edge computing element will put processing power back in the corporate network for faster results that work, even if the cloud doesn’t.
4. 5G will create new market opportunities, new capabilities, and new businesses
5G will come faster than predicted and will cause big disruptions as a new era for connectivity.
Even in its early stages, there has been heavy and widespread investment into 5G, with many providers and organisations already committing resources to test the new equipment, technology, and uses for 5G.
In fact, in a recent survey conducted by Ixia, it was revealed that 96 percent of large technology companies plan to leverage 5G and 83 percent will have 5G solutions deployed within the next 24 months.
The transition from 4G to 5G will present numerous business opportunities across multiple markets. It will ultimately make connectivity much easier and will usher in a new wave of technology and growth for many organisations that otherwise would not be possible.
5. Bots will simplify networking
Bots will make networking simpler.
No longer will hundreds of different apps complete simple microtasks. Instead, everything will be sent to the bot.
Points of failure for outside connection will be easier to find and IT will be more able to keep their companies online.
6. Public IT infrastructure is going to become your job
Data centres don’t live in the office closet anymore; they may not even be within 100 kilometres of the nearest major office, let alone the remote branch offices.
Remote workers make up an increasingly large percentage of the workforce, meaning daily tasks depend on servers and networks that don’t belong to the company.
The consequences of that can be significant, such as those seen in the AWS outage in March 2017, where an outage in a single Amazon cloud data centre shut down several major online services including Quora, Business Insider, and parts of Slack.
Many organisations have bought into the hyperscale cloud model and will be at the mercy of these providers to maintain the availability they need.
IT teams need to establish more control over their cloud data traffic to prevent any breach in their security and protect customer experience and employee productivity.
They will need to establish greater visibility into their clouds as clouds become the dominant mode of communications and processing.
7. AI finally unleashes the value of software-defined everything
Artificial intelligence (AI) has enabled great strides in how businesses handle data everywhere from their security teams to their HR departments.
Adoption and innovation in this space is not going to slow down anytime soon.
The next big area for AI investment is networking. Software-defined everything, cloud, and globalisation have sidelined the hands-on operating practices IT teams have traditionally used to maintain their networks.
Innovative providers are now building machine learning and AI into their network platforms, effectively tailoring network performance as needed, to meet the requirements of the services and applications the network carries.
As this trend continues, enterprises will need to maintain the same level of visibility into packet-level data they had with hardware-based networking to take advantage of the possibilities.