Forewarned is forearmed, and with the new year just getting started, the time has come to look at what are predicted to be the biggest growth areas in IT over the next 12 months.
1) Focus on cyber security
The past year has been a poor one for the field of data security. High-profile attacks on major targets have harmed consumer faith in the ability of companies to protect data, while almost every security-related software stack has suffered from major vulnerabilities across all platforms.
David Gibson, vice president of Varonis Systems, believes that a major focus in the coming year will be on continuous monitoring and tightening access controls to help prevent another disastrous year for security.
“With automated controls, organisations efficiently implement and maintain a least-privilege model, audit data access, spot abuse and identify stale data. Several of the data security standards are now emphasising monitoring because it’s a real-world defence.
“In 2015, IT will be able to make an impact by putting stronger policies in place, requiring continuous monitoring and stricter access controls, which will help limit potential damage, better detect and stop unwanted activity, and make recovery from incidents faster and more effective.”
2) Mobility = computing everywhere
While the trend of 2014 was to ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD), research suggests that 2015 will be the year where discrete mobile devices are replaced by the concept of pervasive computing. “Phones and wearable devices are now part of an expanded computing environment that includes such things as consumer electronics and connected screens in the workplace and public space,” Gartner vice president and fellow David Cearly claimed in a recent report.
“Increasingly, it’s the overall environment that will need to adapt to the requirements of the mobile user. This will continue to raise significant management challenges for IT organisations as they lose control of user endpoint devices.” The vision of “computing everywhere”, Gartner predicts, will require a broader understanding of mobile users’ needs in diverse contexts and environments, compared to the 2014 focus on devices alone.
3) Increased open source adoption
A recent survey, conducted by the Ponemon Institute and cloud communications specialist Zimbra, points to the increasing adoption of software developed using an open source methodology, for everything from user-facing desktop applications to critical business infrastructure.
“The research supports a trend that we see in our own business: open source provides way more benefit than cost savings alone,” claimed Zimbra chief technical officer Rob Howard of his company’s findings. “Open source delivers on quality and control, it empowers IT to make an impact on more than just the bottom line.”
“One of the most interesting survey results was the slow adoption of open source messaging and collaboration software, despite IT professionals’ resounding trust in open source software,” added Dr. Larry Ponemon, chair and founder of the Ponemon Institute. “With the majority of deployments being proprietary solutions, and the sentiment largely negative, I would expect to see increased interest in new solutions that are based on commercial open source.”
4) Targeted cloud solutions
Cloud computing is thought to be a continuing trend for 2015, with experts unanimously believing that the distinction between ‘public’ and ‘private’ cloud infrastructure is dissolving. In a recent report, communications giant Verizon suggested that 2015 will see an increased focus on the development of cloud solutions to solve a specific business need, abstracted away from the actual configuration of the technology.
London-based analysis firm Ovum, meanwhile, has warned of increasing volumes of disinvestments for Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), suggesting that the current trend for increased spending over Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) could be due for reversal in the coming year.
The experts can certainly agree on something, however: cloud computing won’t be going away any time soon, an up-tick in disinvestments notwithstanding.
5) Everything is connected
A trend predicted to continue making an impact from this year to the next is the explosive growth in the so-called Internet of Things (IoT), in many cases thanks to increasing interest from big names in the technology industry.
An all-encompassing term which covers everything from handmade gadgets, based on platforms like the Arduino and Raspberry Pi, to commercial ventures like the Nest Learning Thermostat, the IoT is expected to be a particular growth area in the coming year. Gartner’s research points to four “usage models” for this growth, any one of which a company may focus on profitably in 2015: management, monetisation, operation and extension.
“The Internet of Things is one of the most important innovation accelerators for growth and expansion of IT-based value in the ‘third platform’ era,” claimed IDC senior vice president and chief analyst Frank Gens in a report on the matter. “The invention of more and more intelligent and connected ‘things’ will drive the development of thousands of new 3rd Platform solutions.”
Overall, it’s probably fair to say that there are no great surprises in our top 5 list. What is clear, however, is that each of these trends are set to have wide-reaching implications across the IT industry, at both an operational and infrastructural level.
Find out more about the technology trends set to shape business and IT in 2015 by downloading our free ebook.