By Martin Walshaw, F5 Senior Engineer,
As an organisation that tracks developments in enterprise IT and assists thousands of companies around the world in tackling the challenges that these present, it is our business to be ahead of the game. In light of this, here are the trends that we believe will have the biggest impact in 2014.
1. Software-Defined Networking (SDN) moves into production
We believe that SDN will be one of the biggest issues of network managers and CIOs. The technology will move from the planning and testing phase into production capacity, with projects taking root across software-designed storage, datacenters, and application services among others.
2. The first commercial deployments of Network Function Virtualisation (NFV)
We will see the first commercial deployments for virtualised value-added services and optimisation tools for service providers and mobile networks. NFV will see reduced cost of ownership and improved revenues for LTE providers as the networks mature.
3. The explosion of Anything as a Service (XaaS)
Software as a Service (SaaS) is already too broad and must now support sub-categorisation with clearer definitions. For example, Disaster Recovery (DRaaS), Security (SECaaS), Management (MaaS) have already been defined and we can expect to see further granularity of definitions appearing over the next 12 months.
4. Increased confidence in the security of Cloud Computing
EMEA in general has been slow to adopt cloud computing, with concerns about security and regulatory compliance coming up again and again. However, with the growing popularity of cloud-based financial services like TEMENOS T24 showing how it can be done safely, we should expect this to now change.
5. Intelligent cyber security will become even more important
As cyber criminals become more sophisticated, the traditional, static firewall will become redundant and user-centric and app-centric ‘intelligent security’ will become more important. This will lead to the rise of security that is flexible and responsive, based on factors such as the apps, location or the user. Security won’t be one size fits all in 2014 and will be increasingly tailored to the attack vector encountered. It’s going to be important for companies to prepare themselves against the threats and invest in security tools that are capable of keeping up with the latest attacks.
6. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) will continue to be a huge threat
There will be increasingly large attacks. Alongside this, we should see more targeted application attacks disguised by a DDoS attack. I would also expect yet another headline-grabbing attack using amplification techniques to exceed the largest attack to date.
7. Managers will be confronting the risks of non-enterprise applications in business
The continued uptake of non-traditional enterprise applications in business will open up risks and require organisations to spend more time considering the security implications. Younger employees, in particular, will continue to demand a socialised environment; blurring the lines between personal-social and business-social applications. Managers will be thinking about introducing policies and reengineering their IT infrastructure to cater to this new breed of employees.
8. The mobile boom will present opportunities and challenges
With Gartner predicting that the cost of entry-level smartphones will come down to below the $50 mark, more people than ever will have access to the technology. In emerging markets like India and China, this will involve mobile internet services moving beyond the cities to more rural areas, providing the previously unbanked population with financial services. This, combined with government initiatives, will increase the amount of data traffic and potentially put a strain on mobile service provider infrastructure on a global basis. Inevitably, this will lead them to consider more intelligent ways to serve customers online and reduce downtime.
9. Service providers will take charge of corporate data protection
With the rise of the Bring Your Own Network phenomenon, this is potentially a huge area of opportunity for service providers, opening doors for new revenue opportunities. Providing clean pipe solutions is already a requirement today, however service providers will need to become smarter in their protection mechanisms – especially at the application level.
10. Mobile operators will optimise their networks for cost savings and revenue generation
They will do this to drive the total cost of ownership down and to increase average revenue per user by offering new and differentiated services to their end users in a cost efficient manner. The ability to orchestrate intelligent service chaining and enforcing per subscriber and per application policies in the network are critical to meet those requirements and I can see a demand for these rising dramatically in the next 12 months.