Surfing the crest: Top technology trends in 2016

The technology industry moves at a relentless pace, making it both exhilarating and unforgiving. For those at the forefront of innovation it is an incredibly exciting place to be, but what trends are we likely to see coming to the fore in 2016?

Below are six predictions relating to security, big data and the Internet of Things (IoT) that will have a major impact on the technology landscape in 2016.

  1. The death of the password is rapidly approaching. New and more serious data breaches among well known consumer brands will continue to erode faith in perimeter and credential-based security approaches.

The recent news about Amazon shows why there’s so much talk recently of the death of the password. The security approach where you only evaluate risk when someone’s at your door is becoming less workable. When you can continuously analyse someone’s authenticity while already in the system, then you can provide a high security environment while still offering ease of use to the end user.

Especially with the Internet of Things bringing billions of new devices, services and apps online, the ability to continuously monitor and authenticate users while they’re in your house will become a real business advantage. The new release of the ForgeRock Identity Platform applies contextual identity, adaptive risk and multi-factor authentication at authentication plus at any point throughout a session.

This kind of continuous security approach will be embraced in the marketplace and become the new standard because it ensures authenticity of users, devices, things and services at all times and can mitigate risk whenever an anomaly is detected, even during existing sessions.

  1. Chip to cloud (or device to cloud) security protection will be the new normal

As business technology advances, the security data chain continues to grow, presenting an increasing number of opportunities for hackers to break in. With most data chains now spanning the full spectrum of chip, device, network and cloud (plus all stages in between), many organisations are starting to realise a piecemeal approach to protection simply isn’t effective.

This realisation is spurring the adoption of more ‘chip to cloud’ security strategies, starting at the silicon level and running right through to cloud security. In this model, all objects with online capabilities are secured the moment they come online, meaning their identity is authenticated immediately. In doing so, it eliminates any window hackers have to hijack the identity of unsecured objects, thus compromising the entire data chain via a single entry point.

  1. New technologies and standards that enable consumer privacy and security will become a competitive differentiator

Smart, connected things are coming online at a rapid pace and more users want to take advantage of services that will simplify their lives - but not at the cost of compromising their privacy and safety. Successful organisations know they need to build customer trust to unlock new opportunities by empowering users to create valuable data mash-ups with up-to-the-minute accurate feeds of data, including health, smart home, location and other sources.

They’re thinking of how to build delegation and consent capabilities fast enough to satisfy their customers, tshe business, and the ever changing regulatory landscape. And they know they must do all of this with an architecture that scales to support millions of consumers and employees that can manage their own permissions. User Managed Access (UMA) makes this all possible. The new standard known as User Managed Access is now becoming available and can deliver this kind of experience. Those that embrace it early will be able to build a far stronger relationship with customers built on trust and mutual benefit.

  1. The evolving Internet of Things will change the way we interact with the world around us

The Internet of Things (IoT) continues to rapidly gather pace but to date, the majority of popular IoT applications have been ‘nice to have’ rather than business critical. This is about to change. As technology evolves and contextual big data becomes more meaningful, businesses and governments will be able to harness the IoT to fundamentally change our daily lives.

Central to this is the increasingly intertwined relationship between people, ‘things’ and apps, meaning things like medical devices, thermostats, security cameras and cars are able to receive a constant stream of personalised information straight to their device. They can also act on information immediately using bespoke apps and services, should it be required.

Key elements of the smart city concept are based on the ability to, for instance, use sensors connected to traffic lights to ease congestion, or use earthquake monitoring to shut down gas lines or other critical infrastructure that could be damaged in a quake. Securing systems such as these will be critical to public safety, and digital identity will be the critical security layer as smart cities get built out.

  1. Tagging data at source will multiply the value of big data exponentially

The big data concept has been around for a number of years now, but most businesses are still struggling to extract any value from the data they gather. This is typically because they are looking at the data in isolation, which in itself is largely meaningless.

In order to make sense of big data, it must be examined within the context it was collected. By tagging data at the point of collection with additional contextual information, the value that can be extracted from it across an organisation is multiplied significantly. Key factors such as where and when the data was collected or who/what it was collected from are central to understanding data more effectively. Consent, context, identity and security data points will all significantly boost the value of big data exponentially.

  1. The fight to become the ‘Amazon of the IoT’ will intensify

Amazon’s disruptive one-stop-shop approach to online shopping saw it quickly become the dominant force in the retail industry. As the IoT’s vast potential becomes more apparent, we will start to see a growing number of organisations fighting to establish themselves as the go-to provider of IoT solutions, or the Amazon of the IoT.

This will spur the rise of the IoT mega-platform; vast one-stop-shop Platform-as-a-Service solutions. The battle will likely play out across both the consumer and enterprise spaces and many of the usual suspects are already coming to the fore.

Apple, Google and Intel are all vying for control of our homes, while Microsoft, IBM and Oracle are fighting over our businesses, but the scene could be set for a disruptive innovator to come in and take everyone by surprise. After all, no one had heard of Amazon 20 years ago.

Lasse Andresen, CTO at ForgeRock

Image source: Shutterstock/Bacho