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The crystal ball of technology trends: tech experts provide their 2020 visions

(Image credit: Image Credit: GaudiLab / Shutterstock)

As we approach the end of the decade, ITProPortal spoke to 12 technology experts to get their thoughts and predictions on the tech that has shaped the world in recent years, and what the tech landscape might look like in 2020.

Cybersecurity is top of the board agenda

“Many of the predictions about the technology industry in 2020 are likely to be about the one thing on every CIO’s lips: cybersecurity,” says Jon Lucas, Co-Director at Hyve Managed Hosting. “Recent research found that, in 2018, 70 per cent of cybersecurity professionals said the cybersecurity skills shortage had impacted their organisation, and the fact is that this cybersecurity skills gap is set to get even wider. This will mean the latest ease-of-management technology solutions become a necessity rather than a luxury, and the growing skills shortage will cause a boom in businesses choosing to outsource their IT security requirements.”

“Security organisations will begin accepting that there is just too much to do, and not enough resources,” adds Bryan Becker, DAST Product Manager at WhiteHat Security. “Teams will start looking for methods to make the overall process less demanding as well as for new techniques to allocate resources most effectively.

“Vendors will start to focus more on making the process easier, while teams will start to lean more on defence in depth than perhaps they were previously. Prioritisation techniques and frameworks will start having a seat at the front of the table. Asset management, discovery, and documentation will continue to be a challenge for enterprise organisations.”

“2019 saw a dramatic increase in the amount of malicious code created and made available for sale on the black market,” says John Ford, CISO at ConnectWise.

“The seller not only makes the code affordable ($300-$500), they also provide full tech support in teaching the attacker how to execute an attack. This code is then further modified by the purchaser. This last action makes certain that security products that may have seen and prevented the original code, will likely fail to do the same with the modified version. A single version of modified malicious code could yield hundreds of thousands of dollars, and when the ransomware fails to execute, the attacker simply modifies the code and continues on. Given that the number of attack groups has risen by 25 per cent over the past year, coupled with the fact that the amount of malicious code has exponentially increased and the barrier to entry remains low, I do not see any reduction in the amount of ransomware attacks for 2020.”

AI will become more than just talk

“For the last couple of years, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) have been a big theme and this trend is continuing to grow,” comments Krishna Subramanian, COO at Komprise. “While these have initially been more of marketing buzzwords, the potential of AI in data management is clear – how can you manage something you don’t understand? By using analytics to drive AI/ML, analytics-driven data management solutions can continue to leverage the understanding of data to drive better management. Watch for more exciting developments in this space that leverage deep analytics and data lakes across different storage repositories to help you better manage your data.”

“AI has already started to feel like an old conversation. But the reality is that it’s only just off the starting blocks in many industries,” adds Martin Taylor, Deputy CEO at Content Guru. “In the last year, contact centres and organisations focused on customer engagement have moved beyond the AI hype into practical implementation. There are tangible examples of AI applications already in full swing in the contact centre industry, ranging from Natural Language Processing (NLP) to image recognition.

“Research from industry-leading analyst, Gartner suggests that in 2020, 80 per cent of customer service interactions will be handled, at least partly, by AI. This is hardly surprising, as around a quarter of customer interactions are already handled through an automated chatbot, and the customer engagement technology sector is constantly expanding the very definition of what AI is and what it can do. As it becomes the key business differentiator, organisations that stay ahead of the curve are seeing happy, loyal and engaged customers and higher profits, by turning AI hype into tangible business success. Moving beyond the hype and towards result-driven applications of AI will be critical to the success of any company wanting to survive in this competitive landscape in 2020.”

Richard Cassidy, Senior Director Security Strategy at Exabeam, added:

“2020 should herald a true golden age of ‘deep learning’, which will see a resurgence of artificial intelligence (AI) embedded into the fabric of our security frameworks. Expect to see some exciting machine learning (ML) developments in the seemingly ‘ad infinitum’ war on cyber-threats and bad actor group attack circuits.”

No stopping the continued surge of IoT

“2020 will be the year that Gartner famously predicted the figure of 20 billion internet of things devices online,” explains Rob Mellor, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at WhereScape. “The challenge with utilising these devices is no longer in the tech, but in the value organisations can extract from the data they collect. As the number of these devices ramps up, IT teams are finding themselves frantically looking for ways to incorporate these new data sources into existing analytics environments and make insights quickly and easily accessible to the business.

“The only realistic solution is to embrace automation to ingest, transform and deliver real-time data and insight in a way that the business can use. Data automation can ensure that IT teams, whether old or new, can absorb the ever-growing astronomical volume of data today and be in a position to leverage its insights quickly.”

Data, data, data

“We are living in a world that is increasingly data-driven, and that data is being generated outside of the four walls of the traditional data centre,” says Alan Conboy, Office of the CTO, Scale Computing. “More organisations are turning to hybrid cloud and edge computing strategies, turning to solutions that process data at the source of its creation. In 2020, organisations will rely on hybrid environments, with edge computing collecting, processing and reducing vast quantities of data, which is then later uploaded to a centralised data centre or the cloud.”

Rich Pugh, Co-founder & Chief Data Scientist at Mango Solutions continues, “data as a way of doing business is not yet ingrained in the DNA of most organisations. So in our view, the key disruptor will be the inevitable broadening of the remit of analytic impact, which can only come when the business-at-large understands the possibilities of data and new ways of driving informed decision making. We believe that in the coming year, leading organisations will have cultural change high on the list of priorities of their data-driven transformation, where business colleagues are being educated on the language of data and analytics, and new processes encapsulating data and analytics are being developed.”

The future is bright for businesses adopting the latest in technology

5G is set to make a big impact on all businesses, as Lindsay Notwell, SVP 5G Strategy and Global Carrier Operations at Cradlepoint, explains: “2020 will see 5G rollouts accelerate globally, but super-fast (>1Gbps) speeds will, for the most part, be limited to Millimetre Wave (mmWave) deployments, which will have limited reach and will primarily be restricted to urban cores and specific venues, such as sporting stadiums. The good news for enterprises is that Gigabit-Class LTE is fairly ubiquitous and provides broad reach and very respectable speeds, often reaching into the hundreds of megabits per second, which satisfies most use case requirements. This allows companies to trial next-generation, disruptive applications, yet still gain the benefits that wireless (cellular) WAN delivers, providing freedom of time and place.”

“In the Professional Consumer (i.e., Prosumer) and SMB space, data storage and protection has always been a priority, but cost has been a roadblock for those seeking to employ comprehensive end-to-end data management and protection solutions,” adds Surya Varanasi, CTO of StorCentric, parent company of Drobo & Retrospect.

"In 2020, Prosumers and SMBs will demand solutions that enable them to seamlessly and affordably layer features and functionality onto their on-site storage, such as integration with off-site cloud and SaaS backup and recovery solutions, with flexible cross-platform support for all major platforms including Windows, Mac, Linux, VMware and Hyper-V.”

Gijsbert Janssen van Doorn, Technology Evangelist at Zerto concludes: “One of the things I believe we’ll see in 2020 is the true adoption of things like hybrid and multi-cloud solutions – but the difference in this upcoming year will be that customers and organisations will really begin to look for more management layers on top of their solutions. A lot of companies already have things like backup-in-the-cloud and DRaaS somewhere else, so what they’re now looking for is a uniform management layer on top of that to give visibility on cost, as well as a knowledge of where all data is located. It’s important to know where data lives, whether workloads are protected, and whether they need to move workloads between different clouds if and when requirements change.”

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