What are the Hottest Technology Trends for 2018 - Part 2

Author - David Fearne, Technical Director at Arrow ECS shares what he thinks will be the hottest trends in the tech world in 2018.

Hello computer….

Voice control is nothing new, it’s been a feature in many devices for a number of years. However, it’s also been driving people crazy; ordering the wrong tickets or dialling someone you didn’t want to speak to. We’ve recently seen a few big steps forward in voice recognition technology and software, as well as some very powerful development tools to enable developers to create a voice interface for an application, for free. The biggest leap forward I’ve seen is that the social stigmatism surrounding this form of human-computer interface – especially in public - seems to be going away, and the desire to use voice is increasing.

This leads us to a natural point of innovation for voice interfaces in 2017. With every major platform having a powerful customisable voice interface - either as commodity hardware or software - the ability to start to use it for the enterprise becomes very high. Think of it like this, we don’t naturally communicate ideas using spreadsheets - we talk; so put a voice interface in front of this and ask the office what the sales were like for the last month.

The enterprise becomes a Telco

The promise of the software-defined revolution has been a slow one. The issue, like so many disruptive technologies, has not been the tech itself but more the adoption. None have felt this more than the software-defined network, a technology stuck between an appliance-centric past and a very virtual future. The coming together of these two worlds certainly started in 2016, though we’re predicting a much greater uptake in 2017, along with one of the newest technologies to gain traction, the Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN).

SD-WAN enables organisations to overlay flexible virtual networks over their existing inflexible WANs. This allows two applications operating at distance to share one logical network or provide security through micro-segmentation. This can also be extended to any endpoint or apply network changes based on dynamic policies linked to applications. SD-WAN has no reliance on the underlying network architecture on the whole and can allow for the use of commodity broadband lines or even 4G to provide WAN connectivity.

For me, the biggest draw towards the use of SD-WAN is the huge growth in adoption of SaaS applications. As we see customers wanting to wrap enterprise connectivity around these services, SD-WAN will drive this as a necessary part of an enterprise network architecture.

The Infinite Platform

We’ve always had platform one, platform two, platform three and so on - the reality is it’s all just marketing. In fact, innovation is moving so quickly that the whole ‘platform’ conversation is going away. It’s just infinite technology innovation.

Technology is going to overtake our ability to put it into a container and, more importantly, it’s a nod to the rate of innovation. Historically, it’s always been the latest two versions of X, minus two versions, and that’s the one that enterprises will adopt. However, we are now seeing a reduction in this adoption time as people take risks to get the business going.

The rate of adoption is starting to match the rate of innovation; therefore, we can’t quantify technology sub-sets the way we always used to.

Security postures become uncomfortable

We’re moving away from the old security infrastructure as we see the clash of IT versus OT (Operational Technology). We can no longer look at different security technologies in isolation; every time there’s a threat we need to wait for a human to detect that threat, to then be mitigated and a patch to be released. As we introduce more technologies to an infrastructure, the network is massively expanding the attack service and the number of points where it can be compromised. Everything can become an attack vector, which can be hacked to gain access to the hub.

This is, therefore, increasing the amount of people monitoring networks and ensuring the technology is intelligent. It’s clear we can’t rely on the old methodologies of protecting our vital business assets. We need to remove ourselves from the comfort zone of firewalls and anti-virus software.

This is where using User Behaviour Analytics (UBA) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) can assist. UBA and AI solutions look at patterns of human behaviour and then apply algorithms and statistical analysis to detect meaningful anomalies from those patterns - anomalies that indicate potential threats, instead of tracking devices or security events. Therefore, you don’t need to wait for patches to be released, you can look for trends, spikes and reoccurrences in behaviours and then mitigate errors straight away. If there’s a problem, the system will kick off first and ask questions later. Affected devices can be taken off the main network onto a secure segment; containerising the compromised device and preventing access to corporate assets.

The channel should look to take advantage of this new revenue stream. UBA can make things work smarter - and not harder - without having to scale security teams.

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