2017 Cloud & IT Predictions

David Grimes, Chief Technology officer at CIF member Navisite, reflects on cloud market trends in order to continue to provide clients with the solutions and services they need in the ever evolving IT landscape. So what is the next big thing (or perhaps “next big things,” is more accurate) in the wonderful world of cloud?

1.  Private cloud’s resurgence lives on:

At the start of 2016, I predicted “private cloud would see a short-lived resurgence,” and this proved to be true. A forecast from IDC found that spending on private cloud infrastructure is growing at 10.3 percent to reach $13.8 billion in 2016. We’re continuing to see industry leaders focus on the private cloud experience, but with a slight twist. Today’s private cloud is being delivered with the economics of a public cloud environment, meaning they are more flexible and available at a lower cost than in previous years. So, why do I think this trend will continue into 2017? At this time, the private cloud model is better positioned to serve “legacy” apps. In this instance, “legacy” is referring to the architecture of applications and not the age. With that said, we’re still very much seeing a multi-cloud approach, so while there may be private clouds on-premise, they are often mixed with other hybrid or public cloud models. 

2.  Security will remain a top priority:

When speaking with clients, cloud security remains a critical concern and area of focus as we enter 2017. In the new year, the “bad guys” will become increasingly sophisticated and the value of the attacks they are conducting — in both monetary and business reputation terms — will be larger than ever. The good news is that we’re seeing more innovation than ever on the part of the “good guys” as well; for example we’re seeing a dramatic shift away from traditional signature based anti-virus approaches to solutions built on anomaly detection, machine learning and crowd sourcing. Thankfully, organizations are also moving away from working in siloes and are now developing security technologies that are working together to aggregate information, so users can monitor and address all vulnerabilities. Also of note is the mindset shift when it comes to attacks. In the past, a hack was seen as a mark against an organization—tainting a company’s reputation. Today, there is an understanding that attacks are something that can happen to any organization. It is critical we all work together to evolve tools for detection, as well as solutions to respond to threats. While prevention is crucial, it has become equally important to have a crisp incident response plan and sophisticated forensics to understand the true impact of any potential breach.

3.  Data management will be repositioned for new uses:

In the past, data management has been focused on critical functions, such as storage, replication, backup and disaster recovery. While data management will continue to serve these functions, I believe the core capabilities of data protection will be adapted to solve very different business challenges in 2017. Innovative enterprises will ask themselves: Can I drive business value from the disaster recovery (DR) environment? For example, enterprises will begin to use the DR environment for security testing and look to use these environments as a way to drive business value beyond their originally intended use. In 2017, data will remain king and cloud will be the key to unlocking new and interesting use cases for stored data. Data management will shift from an insurance policy to a proving ground for innovation. 

One way to continue to keep an eye on trends in the enterprise, is to also look at the consumer market. Though seemingly separate, consumerization of IT can often serve as an indicator for what is to come in the enterprise space. I’m fascinated by how the consumer market dictates what enterprises do and I will continue to keep an eye on consumer trends to see how they will shape the business IT world.

Regardless of your industry, it is important to look at all of the lessons learned from 2016 to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past, as well as to build on the breakout innovations to form the business of tomorrow.