The Results Are In: 9 IT & Infrastructure Trends for 2018

Predictions for IT trends in 2018 are in, and results from forward-looking industry studies from IDC, Gartner, 451 Research and others are centered around the demands of digital business. Consumers demand speed, flexibility and a straightforward user experience that yields immediate results, or else. The competition is just a few clicks away. Consumer demands have led to the rise of the cloud, and now the edge. “The continuing digital business evolution exploits new digital models to align more closely the physical and digital worlds for employees, partners and customers,” says David Cearley, a fellow and vice president at Gartner. Here’s what these demands mean for IT in 2018:

1. Growth at the Edge

There’s been so much talk about “the Edge” this year that you may be sick of hearing it. While the Edge has become a much-debated buzzword with varying interpretations and a lot of hype, it is still not a widely-implemented infrastructure model. In 2018, we will see more companies adopt edge computing solutions and a rise in the devices (IoT) that function optimally as a result.

2. Integration of AI into Apps & Tools

Gartner predicts that AI will increasingly run in the background of familiar applications to enhance data preparation and the extraction of insights. “Challenge your packaged software and service providers to outline how they’ll be using AI to add business value in new versions in the form of advanced analytics, intelligent processes and advanced user experiences,” says Gartner’s Cearley. IDC predicts by 2021, 40% of digital transformation initiatives will use AI services and 75% of commercial enterprise apps will use AI.

3. Data Sovereignty and Portable Workloads

In considering the movement of certain resources to the cloud, many companies have to solve for data sovereignty issues to be fully compliant with government regulations. As Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) takes effect in 2018, companies will need to make sure they comply with new rules regarding data privacy and user consent. Organizations that process personal information, no matter how small, will have to appoint Data Protection Officers. The GDPR also introduces “the right to be forgotten,” meaning companies will have limits on how long they can keep certain information.

4. Data-as-a-Service (DaaS)

Enterprise data continues to multiply exponentially, and companies are learning to harvest and analyze their data for profit. IDC predicts 90% of large enterprises will generate revenue from DaaS by 2020, and that “everyone will be a data provider.”  IDC found companies are investing in data curators to help them compile, package and market data assets. As data continues to multiply, the demand for data storage continues to increase. In a recent study by 451 Research, half of companies expected to increase their spend on storage, while 40% expect spend to remain constant.

5. Cybercrime for Hire

Cybercrime-as-a-Service will continue to grow and evolve in 2018. According to CIO, “In 2018, CaaS will allow ‘aspirant cybercriminals’ without much technical knowledge to buy tools and services that allow them to conduct attacks they would otherwise not be able to undertake.” CIO notes the lines between enterprises and individuals are blurring, and cybercrime for hire will affect both as criminals target individuals within enterprises.

6. SD-WAN and Intent-Based Networking

The adoption of Software-Defined Wide Area Networks (SD-WAN) will continue in 2018. Some companies will take an even more advanced approach to networking technology and begin adopting intent-based networking. Gartner predicts that by 2020, over 1000 major enterprises will use intent-based networking systems (IBNS), compared to just 50 today.

7. Need for Infrastructure Oversight

As companies adopt a variety of cloud platforms, colocation providers and cloud services, there is a lack of oversight across departments. Becasue cloud services are so agile and easy to spin up, many departments within companies are spinning up their own resources as they need them without IT leadership necessarily knowing. As companies continue to spread across platforms and environments, someone will need to have a birds-eye view of all the company’s infrastructure and understand where money is being spent and where it is being wasted.

8. Cloud Connectivity

Now that the majority of companies have implemented a hybrid cloud or multicloud strategy, and workloads and data need to move seamlessly between platforms, companies are seeking secure, low-latency connections to the cloud. Colocation providers that support hybrid cloud strategies with direct connections to major cloud providers are in demand, and they will continue to see increases in customers who use their cloud connectivity services.

9. Network Optimization Takes Precedence

As applications and workloads are spread across different sites and multi-cloud models become the norm, a resilient and agile network is the key to making it all work. Connections must be resilient and redundant, and network monitoring will become indispensable to success. Monitoring the enterprise network while having visibility into the greater Internet allows companies to proactively address network issues and find the most efficient paths.

Our network engineers can assess your network to address many of the security and infrastructure issues companies will face in 2018. Click here to request a free consultation for a network assessment.