2016 was in many ways a tumultuous yet transformative year. While security was at the forefront of everyone’s mind, there were also significant milestones made in other areas related to enterprise technology.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the key events and trends that defined the state of IT in 2016 and what they portend for 2017 and beyond.
IT Year In Review
There’s no question that security was the dominant technology theme in 2016, with hackers and cyber terrorists either exploiting poor security measures, taking advantage of loopholes or designing novel ways to steal money and data.
The costs of data breaches are growing, from an average of $3.8 million in 2015 to $4 million in 2016 according to IBM’s Cost of Data Breach Study. So, while 2016 was an expensive year for data security, there is no end in sight to this upward trend.
Financial institutions were hit hard in 2016, but none more so than the attempted February $1 billion heist from Bangladesh’s central bank that saw hackers get away with $81 million. The institution had no firewall and used second-hand equipment, exposing the perils of poor network security protocols.
But attacks weren’t limited to organizations with mediocre security measures. Blogging giant Tumblr exposed 65 million email addresses after an attack, paling in comparison to the nearly 400 million user accounts compromised on AdultFriendFinder’s network in September.
And attacks grew even more sophisticated as the year progressed.
In October, hackers exploited the vulnerability of millions of internet-connected devices to launch a massive DDOS attack on Dyn, a provider of DNS services to tens of thousands of domains. The so-called Mirai botnet attack resulted in massive website outages along the U.S. East Coast, demonstrating that even the most technologically sophisticated organizations are vulnerable.
That month also saw the revelation of a massive security vulnerability affecting hundreds of millions of Linux-based devices, including the ubiquitous Android mobile operating system. While patches are available for the so-called Dirty Cow vulnerability, millions of outdated and unsupported mobile devices remain vulnerable.
Dirty Cow and other similar backdoor vulnerabilities bring up important questions about the security of BYOD or bring your own device policies, a growing trend for 2017 that may further increase the security risk for corporations who rely on employee devices for their operations.
The adoption of cloud computing continued its steady upward march in 2016. While 41% of enterprise computing is handled in some form of public or private cloud, that number is expected to grow to 60% by 2018.
And grow it did in the past year according to Gartner, with worldwide public cloud services market increasing 17.2 percent to $208.6 billion, up from $178 billion in 2015. Particularly, Software as a Service (SaaS) usage grew 21.7 percent over the previous year.
Among the different cloud platform segments, hybrid cloud adoption made the largest gains, growing at a rate of 27%. Significant advances and new efficiencies were also made in hyper-converged technologies. Learn more.
Data centers, more particularly servers, are being put on more strain than ever before. Cloud technology, if used the right way, can solve many issues that traditional data centers face. However, there is still a need for on-premise, traditional hardware. Niantic, developers and hosts of the popular Pokémon Go game, take on much of the hosting and connectivity of the game’s services. They now seem to have ironed-out their early kinks.
SaaS made headlines earlier in 2016 with a key move by Microsoft. In July, the software giant announced the introduction of Windows 10 Enterprise E3, a subscription plan that in conjunction with products such as Azure and Office 365 gives businesses of all sizes access to the company’s “full IT stack” on a per-seat basis.
Microsoft has historically taken more of an infrastructure approach, most notably with its Azure platform; however, it’s foray into cloud-based software services, like we saw first-hand with the 2016 Windows 10 updates, demonstrates a shift in consumers’ appetite for these types of services.
Overall, 2016 showed us that the rising dominance of the cloud is not going to end anytime soon.
2016 was the year in which Business Intelligence (BI) reached a tipping point. A survey by Logi Analytics reports that 67% of IT respondents have already deployed BI and data analytics tools to their end users, indicating that a majority of firms now have access to these self-service intelligence products.
The study suggests that the adoption of BI tools peaked this year, with some analysts predicting the beginning of a decline in companies adding new BI products to their application inventories.
Paradoxically, the same survey also shows that despite higher availability, the usage of these tools is down 24% over the previous two years.
“Compared to 2015,” writes Dresner Advisory Services, “industry interest appears to be leveling off. Overall, software vendors are still highly positive on big data, but have tempered their enthusiasm slightly to present a more realistic outlook for big data adoption plans.”
In 2016, it became evident that vendors are still investing in business intelligence. In August, Microsoft announced a series of significant updates to Power BI in order to improve user experience. Click here to learn more.
It’s clear that the landscape for self-service analytics tools is shifting. With the majority of companies already offering access to BI, the products themselves are beginning to evolve.
Gartner suggests that the trend is toward new analytics tools that don’t require any IT intervention, predicting a move toward fully automated end-to-end products.
While reports of the demise of BI are premature, 2016 has demonstrated that the future is decidedly uncertain.
As previously mentioned, Internet of Things (IoT) devices gained a degree of notoriety in 2016 thanks to concerns around their security. However, the year also saw a renewed push by large companies to not only monetize IoT connectivity over their networks but to develop security standards. For tips to improve your network monitoring, click here.
Telecom giant T-Mobile announced a deal in May with startup Twilio to offer IoT connectivity over its network, becoming the latest player on a crowded field. They join Verizon, who’s ThingSpace platform has reportedly already signed up 4,000 developers since being opened up to third parties in February.
Other large players such as ARM and Symantec revealed plans to create a set of IoT security standards, unveiling their Open Trust Protocol (OTrP) aimed at providing a secure architecture for connected devices.
With 6.4 billion IoT devices currently in operation worldwide, it’s no wonder companies are beginning to join the gold rush. These recent deals and initiatives indicate 2016 became the year that the IoT landscape began to coalesce around key industry players.
From the rise of security hacks to the fall of business intelligence, 2016 saw it’s share of noteworthy IT events. Expect to see these trends continue, perhaps more aggressively, as 2017 unfolds.
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