As we wrap up 2016 – a year for the ages – I wanted to take some time to reflect on the trends that have defined the past 12 months and look ahead to what’s waiting in the wings for the next year.
The Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and machine learning as well as virtual and augmented reality, dominated the technology conversation in 2016. Despite their buzz-wordy nature, these technologies were front and center for a reason – namely, they were the center of crucial technological advancements that defined the year.
Over the last 12 months, the use of connected devices expanded beyond smart televisions as consumers grabbed snacks from smart refrigerators or rang connected doorbells while trick-or-treating. Digital assistants like Siri and Alexa also grew in popularity as they extended their reach across a range of cohesive devices. We even saw the first truly successful use of augmented reality in the form of a little game called Pokémon Go. But, as this is just the beginning, all of these technologies will become even more prevalent in 2017.
Security also took center stage in 2016, as DDoS attacks, ransomware and IoT vulnerabilities plagued the network. Large-scale attacks only further emphasized the need to weave protection, detection and enforcement throughout the network to stop attacks before they enter the wild. As everyone from large enterprises to average consumers became targets of attacks, security considerations were finally given the attention they deserve.
While 2016 was clearly full of advancements and changes, there’s no doubt 2017 will bring even more disruption. Here are a few ways I expect the networking and technology industry to change in the next year.
We Will See An Increase in the Collaborative Security Industry. The security industry is slowly working towards collaboration to better detect and mitigate threats, but at the end of the day collaboration remains nascent. Beyond sharing basic threat data, we still lack the interoperability necessary to address the next generation of threats. This has led to an increase in cybersecurity startups finding favor among funders – venture capital investments in cybersecurity startups went from less than $1 billion in 2010 to $2.5 billion in 2014. A recent study from SANS Institute found that 71 percent of respondents said access to shared threat intelligence gave them improved visibility into threats, while only 40 percent are actively contributing to threat intelligence. This disconnect indicates that all security organizations need to be working together and sharing open threat intelligence, which is crucial in order for the industry to remain one step ahead of attackers. Could there be an opportunity for technologies like blockchain to allow us to more effectively share and collaborate in this space?
Automation Will Help Organizations Address the Shortage of Security Personnel. Often, organizations invest heavily in effective security hardware and software, but lack the security specialists necessary to ensure their effectiveness, such that breaches may be detected by high-end security systems, but security operations practitioners may be too overwhelmed by the thousands of alerts they receive to see which alerts pose the most imminent threat. As automation becomes more integrated into security solutions, security personnel will receive fewer notifications with more relevance, relieving them of the manual task of hunting through a sea of alerts to find the truly malicious ones. Through the use of innovative technologies such as machine learning and AI, the ability to more effectively manage this stream of information could provide some intriguing possibilities.
Our Cities Will Become Smarter. One of the positive anticipated outcomes in a future of IoT is that cities will be intelligently connected, including everything from traffic cameras to smart grids that operate as one complete digital cohesive system. To get us a step closer, the public and private sectors will need to come together in a more meaningful manner to develop the necessary policies, infrastructure and sharing of data to build out the necessary substrate for smart roads, autonomous vehicles and overall safer communities. In 2017, we’ll begin to see the formation of more organizations with the goal of bringing together not only technology companies, but also a wide variety of sectors to enable a truly connected digital future. Integrating these Smart Cities with capabilities such as augmented reality could create some compelling use cases as well as new ways to visualize cities.
As the world moves toward this connected future, it will be the network that gets us there. I’m looking forward to our industry continuing to build products that work toward this connected world. Here’s to a great 2017!