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Top IT Trends to Watch in 2017

In an increasingly competitive economy, being agile and having the ability to recover quickly drives technological development. Cutting-edge technology improves productivity, creates competitive advantages, enhances business continuity, and defines cybersecurity practices. As IT advancements create shifts in daily workflows and develop best practices, those who use state-of-the-art technology and adopt the right trends will benefit.

We’ve gathered top IT trends to watch in 2017:

Cloud computing: What will be different in 2017?

According to research from Forrester, the global public cloud market will reach a valuation of $146 billion in 2017 (up from just $87B in 2015). As cloud technology continues to advance, businesses will gain confidence in its ability to deliver secure, high-quality solutions. Competition for the big players in cloud storage will increase as regional cloud service providers enter the game. These regional providers will focus on filling niche company needs and will offer specialized services like setting modular data centers or creating processes to analyze data, according to Rick Delgado of Cloud Computing News.

According to IDG Enterprise’s 2016 Cloud Computing research, business/data analytics and data storage/data management (both 43%) are projected to lead cloud adoption in 2017 and beyond. “…22% of organizations surveyed predict that business/data analytics will be the leading cloud application area they will migrate to in the next 12 months,” writes Louis Columbus, in an analysis of the study. According to Columbus, 21% are predicting data storage/data management apps are a high priority area for their organizations’ cloud migration plans in 2017.

Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) systems will gain popularity as a way to streamline cloud integrations. HCI gives a single vendor the ability to integrate resources including computing, networking, storage, and virtualization technologies into a unified system. For companies struggling to balance onsite, private, and public cloud integrations, the solution promises improved risk management.

Cloud Technology Partners Senior Vice President David Linthicum predicts the greatest barriers to cloud computing will revolve around migration, security, performance, and management. While lift-and-shift tools may look more cost-effective on the front end, enterprises may see better results if they build native cloud applications.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI is poised to reshape the way we live, work and even move from place to place. AI, described as the 21st century equivalent of electricity in how it impacts our world, encompasses a broad range of technologies. “Machine learning, natural language processing (NLP), voice recognition and image processing, application and geography are the main focus areas, with mobile devices and cloud being the enablers,” writes Principal Analyst and Founding Partner of Futurum Research, Shelly Kramer.

Grant Owens, chief strategy officer at Critical Mass, predicts that 2017 will bring the development of standards for how we interact with AI and uses the analogy of how models of interaction have caught on over the past twenty years. He foresees voice-activated AI encroaching on Google’s search dominance, writing, “Just as everyone got hooked on Googling for information, they could easily get hooked into a new interaction habit with a voice assistant that isn’t powered by Google.”

Gil Press, writing for What’s The Big Data, reviews a new report from Forrester Research, “Predictions 2017: Artificial Intelligence Will Drive The Insights Revolution.” According to Press, Forester predicts that “…across all businesses, there will be a greater than 300% increase in investment in artificial intelligence in 2017 compared with 2016.”

The Internet of Things (IoT)

IoT in 2017 will not hit its tipping point but will affect or interact with every area of technological advancement from security to artificial intelligence (AI) to cloud solution management. “Analyzing data from IoT and sensors clearly has the potential for massive impact, but most companies are far (FAR!) from ready. IoT will continue to get lots of lip service, but actual deployments will remain low,” predicts Prat Moghe, founder and CEO of Cazena, in an article from Forbes. “Complexity will continue to plague early adopters that find it a major challenge to integrate that many moving parts. Companies will instead focus resources on other low-hanging fruit data and analytics projects first.”

Security for IoT, a huge and growing area of concern, involves protecting devices from software attacks as well as physical tampering. According to research from Gartner, businesses investing in IoT advancements will also spend more time and money focused on security and management of devices and data. Some organizations will manage thousands of devices and possibly millions of new data streams. As a result, data centers will need to meet the rising demand for increased storage capacities.

Connected device technologies will likely grow at a lopsided rate, focusing first on high-demand IoT industries including manufacturing, healthcare, and transportation. The data centers serving these markets will also advance their IoT server technologies to meet demands more effectively.

Data Security

Data continues to be a highly sought-after commodity, and cybercrime will continue to become increasingly complex and widespread—leaving a path of destruction along the way. The average total cost of a data breach is $4 million, up 29% since 2013, according to the IBM-sponsored 2016 Ponemon Cost of Data Breach Study. “Juniper Research recently predicted that the rapid digitization of consumers’ lives and enterprise records will increase the cost of data breaches to $2.1 trillion globally by 2019,” writes Steve Morgan of Forbes. These predictions represent an increase of almost four times the estimated cost of breaches in 2015.

Password protection will continue to be a point of vulnerability—the October DDoS attack that used IoT devices with default passwords highlighted the need for improved password protection, authentication and access control in business. Data access logs and accountability will also play a role in data security as increased numbers of organizations use third-party vendors for colocation, cloud services, and security management.

Ransomware will continue to present a threat in healthcare and other industries with valuable data. End-user training and multilevel protection remain critical prevention tactics. As attacks continue, businesses will need to prioritize both prevention and recovery.  

Big Data Management and Storage 

The world generates 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day, and 90 percent of that data has been created in the last two years, writes Tech Journalist James A. Martin for CIO.com. The sheer volume of data isn’t the only challenge: The IoT and analytics-fueled data collection increase the need for better and more flexible data storage solutions. For many organizations, big data management goes hand in hand with security, access control, and regulatory compliance. Companies will no longer rely solely on onsite storage solutions to maintain agility and meet oversight demands.

As businesses migrate to data centers and managed solutions, data management professionals continue to embrace software-defined storage, open standard infrastructure, and automated data management products. By 2017, Gartner predicts that more than 30% of enterprise access to broadly based big data will be via intermediary data broker services, serving context to business decisions, writes Doug Laney, of Forbes. Gartner also projects that by 2017, more than 20% of customer-facing analytic deployments will provide product tracking information leveraging the IoT, states Laney.

Disaster Recovery (DR)

Disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) solutions will grow, integrate with managed services, and build upon cloud advancements. With more built-in business continuity tools in cloud-driven data centers, security programs, and system infrastructure, disaster recovery will continue to serve as an integral part of cybersecurity strategies. New cloud advancements like backup as a service (BaaS), make it possible for organizations to start using shared cloud resources—even those who have compliance needs—because security risks are being addressed.

“Because shared resources are more economical, small to mid-sized businesses gain the opportunity to invest in advanced DR solutions. With the automation of disaster recovery processes and scripts, we [IT pros] anticipate faster recovery when an incident does occur,” says OnRamp VP of Product Development, Toby Owens.

What Will You Adopt?

IT trends build on one another to support common goals of productivity, security, and oversight. Some trends fade quickly as better solutions come along, while others turn into foundational principles of the trade. To protect data and business sustainability in 2017, proactively engage with the trends. Monitor, adopt, or dismiss each trend—but don’t ignore them. The only consistent trend in today’s business world is change.

Additional Resources on This Topic:

Ten IT Trends Through 2017 And How to Prepare
7 Technology Trends That Will Dominate 2017
Gartners Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2017

This article was first published on OnRamp. 

Photo Credit: johnkasperolympics Flickr via Compfight cc

Bobby Boughton

Vice President of Sales at OnRamp
With over a decade of experience in data center services, Bobby Boughton oversees the strategy, implementation and execution of OnRamp’s sales and business development for OnRamp’s growing, high security hosting, cloud computing and colocation services. Connect with Bobby Boughton on LinkedIn.