As we acclimate to 2019 I can’t help but look back at the course of my IT career, from serial cable connections and Windows NT 3.5 (ugh) all the way to virtualization and cloud. It’s exciting to prognosticate and predict how technology will evolve—so hold the hyperbole and get ready for my dish of IT predictions in 2019.
1. The adoption of multi-cloud
Imagine you’re a chef. You have expensive, specialized kitchen tools that do one thing very well but take up a lot of counter space. I have this apple slicer that does absolutely nothing but core the apple and slice it at the same time. It’s a huge time saver with kids, so a specialized tool that’s worth it.
You also have some all-in-one devices that are sometimes cheaper, take up less space, but really can’t get that specialized use case quite right. Honestly, they both have their place.
Cloud adoption is seeing a similar trend. At first, people threw all of their eggs into one “cloud.” This was helpful in streamlining management and billing, but IT teams quickly found it may not be exactly what they need to meet every challenge. Now people are starting to evaluate different cloud offerings more closely, or even cloud vs on-premises solutions, to really gauge the cost, complexity and solution it brings.
If it does 80 percent of what you need and is 80 percent cheaper, does that satisfy? Sometimes, but not always. 2019 will see the adoption of multi-cloud and the exploration it’s trade-offs when it comes to management, billing, support and other issues.
2. Ransomware and cryptomining
Over the past few years, IT has been held hostage by the threat of ransomware. This malicious software has changed so much about how IT operates, from educating end users, to filtering web and email, all the way to backup and disaster recovery strategies. While ransomware continues to be a huge issue, one of the new things being seen is the rise in cryptomining malware.
Now that hackers have figured out that most businesses have implemented fairly robust backup and IT resilience strategies, they’re becoming sneakier by injecting cryptomining malware in your organization. It is especially difficult to detect because it doesn’t lock your files and you’re often unaware it’s even running. It’s even harder to detect cryptomining malware in the cloud, mainly because of how cloud is priced.
Cloud introduces a cost model that allows you to pay for what you need but scale as you need it. Sometimes the people paying for cloud aren’t the same ones using it. Without proper monitoring, a simple cryptomining malware package could be running in your cloud environment without you ever knowing, slowly causing your cloud usage, and cost, to grow. 2019 will find organizations looking for ways to detect and prevent this new malicious behavior by more closely studying micro-segmentation, historical analysis, billing metrics, security software and vulnerability scanning.
3. More cloud, data and security
As more and more organizations adopt full-scale, multi-cloud scenarios, the amount of generated data will continue to skyrocket. With this explosion of data now “in the cloud,” security and privacy concerns, fear of data breaches and global privacy issues are more important than ever.
Each day the news delivers a dose of dread with some new and massive data breach. Organizations must involve their security teams much sooner in the IT discussions, especially when it comes to PII/PHI data or anything that can be considered sensitive. By understanding all of the various security pieces put into place, IT teams will be better prepared for either delivering their own security or relying on the cloud vendor’s native stack.
With this explosion of data also comes myriad options on how to store it and what is—or is not—important. Leveraging various tiers of cloud-based and on-premises data is the first step. Everyone says they put cold data on cold storage and hot data on hot storage, but what does that mean? And ultimately, how does the organization automate this process and set policies around this data?
In 2019 we’ll look beyond just the cost of storage and more into a holistic view of the lifecycle of your data. You’ll focus on the various tiers of data as well as where it belongs and how it gets there. This is going to be a huge consideration for organizations as they estimate data in the coming years to exceed all the data we’ve generated in the past.
4. Cloud-based backup and DR explosion
Obviously, I am partial to this, as it’s the space I’m in every day. I talk to people about how cloud can accelerate their data protection, archival and disaster recovery strategies. I used to work on robotic tape libraries and SAN mirroring to separate sites. These were things usually out of the reach of the normal IT budget and skill set, but the needs of these organizations are the same: continuous availability for their applications and ultimately their customers.
Cloud-based backups fulfill multiple strategies for customers. They provide an air-gapped, off-site copy of their data in case they need it, no more bringing home tapes from the office. It also provides a hardware agnostic environment which is especially important when it comes to long-term archival. Ever tried to recover data for a legal hold from two years ago after you updated all your hardware? The cost of cloud and pay-as-you-use model is turning the CapEx conversation into an OpEx one and really letting you choose how you protect the various pieces of your data. Backup software has also become increasingly better at integrating cloud-based methods with automation policies and schedules that make your life easier.
When it comes to disaster recovery, cloud has been the most disruptive and beneficial technology enabling organizations to meet their IT resiliency goal. Now, any organization can truly have the uptime they need without worrying about additional data centers, complex solutions, increased manpower requirements, etc. With the amount of automation, orchestration and testing available in modern cloud-based DRaaS solutions, most of the concerns are removed and the solution becomes just another standard operation of any IT team.
5. “Cloud first”, micro-services and apps
As the world becomes more mobile, and cloud more pervasive in everything we do, IT teams have to adapt, but still ultimately decide the best solution and plan for their infrastructure. You may hear the term “cloud first” but what does that mean? Does it mean the app is designed in the cloud? The app runs in the cloud? The data is stored in the cloud? The ability to spin up and spin down applications as you need them or transition resources is one of the more compelling reasons for cloud adoption, but you really need to know the end goal.
This is more of an idea than a prediction, but as users become personally more tech-savvy with consumer apps, IT teams in 2019 will need to keep up and create the same level of ease of use, mobility and features that business users expect out of any of their solutions. I think it’s going to be a busy year for IT.