In 2016, we’ve witnessed a number of major IT developments and trends, all of which had a significant effect on defining businesses. Be it evolution in mobile or cloud technologies, or development of newer technologies like IoT and smart devices, several technological expansions made headway into mainstream adoption this year. However, one of the biggest IT trends of 2016 had been cyber-security becoming more robust and inclusive. Further, traditional methods of IT security such as IAM and MFA expanded to include better features, along with enterprises implementing newer technologies such as SUBA and Secure SDLC, to create comprehensive IT security environment. While popularity of APIs and big data continued, a surprising trend to recruit in-house IT talent gained ground, despite issues.
All in all 2016 was a year that added newer dynamics to IT Security
Let’s take a look at the top IT trends of 2016 that made news:
- Internet of Things (IoT) got mainstream: Internet of Things (IoT) became one of the greatest revolutions in technology this year. As most of the digital devices are capable of interconnecting, this has given rise to adoption of IoT by consumers at a faster pace. Further, it was fueled by the presence of vast heterogeneous data which could be extracted from various connected devices. The year also saw higher proliferation of connected devices and smartphone usage, resulting in considerable rise of IoT. The segment saw further growth with increased adoption of cloud platforms, together with availability of smarter and cheaper sensors and development of high speed technologies for networking. Along with this, application and network security also expanded to tackle cyber threats foreseen in IoT infrastructure.
- Cyber security gained greater focus: With a spike in cyber-attacks, companies were seen to leverage innovative tools for combating this threat. Organizations invested in improving security programs, using technologies such as identity and access management (IAM), cloud-based cyber-security, biometrics, big data analytics, privilege account management (PAM), together with advanced authentication. For combating the issues, several proactive initiatives were taken, including: promoting quicker detection of threat and short response time, educating management about the threat landscape, tracking access or users and devices, providing more controls on access made by business partners, securing mobile based transactions, moving beyond regulatory compliance, and creating solutions for the industry. Major banks were also seen to enhance their efforts for battling cyber-crime this year. Some of the major financial institutions such as J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. formed a group to tackle this growing menace. The group members agreed to share more information with each other about various cyber-threats, develop comprehensive response systems and conduct war games for tackling cyber-crime. Some banks also allocated additional funds for cyber-security. For instance, J.P. Morgan decided to spend USD 600 million on cyber-security efforts this year.
- In-house talent support gained grounds, albeit issues: It has been increasingly observed that companies are moving towards managing their IT projects in-house, rather than engaging an outside vendor. Although, the step had its own merits, starting with gaining greater control over project delivery and saving cost in the short-run, for a long-term perspective, such a move led to multiple issues for the organizations to address. Here’s what went wrong being solely dependent on an in-house IT resource: lack of good IT resources, inability to outsmart growing security threats, absence of diverse IT portfolio and expertise, and lack of support while scaling up business. On the contrary, when an organization hired an outside agency to manage their IT capabilities, they were able to receive a complete end-to-end IT solution. Not only such agencies recommended the right solutions, but also deployed customized solutions as per the requirements and changing business dynamics of the organization.
- Big data got extensive in variety, velocity and volume: The buzzword has been around for longer than a year, and is not an exclusive trend for 2016. However, this year the organizations were seen upgrading their systems and investing in big data on a larger scale to gather greater consumer data and analyze them for providing better services. Companies also invested in data visualization, analytics platforms and advanced software programs, to further automate the data collection and analysis systems.
- Changing API dynamics as integrations pave the way: Similar to the popularity of big data, APIs have also been around for a long time now, with organizations using this tool for creating synchronized management of records, information, data, while saving time, money and resources. But, this year, APIs went beyond data transfer, it was about smart integration. In fact, APIs provided a secure environment for businesses and helped them manage customers, employees, and business partners, while streamlining operations. Organizations were seen to combine data, using APIs, from new applications and legacy applications. It helped in creating newer channels for integrated services, coordinating information transfer and sharing, and developing other information derivatives. APIs played an important role in helping consumers access information in a transparent manner, while enterprises were seen to embrace open IT infrastructure such as cloud computing to make APIs more accessible and agile.
- Authenticate, authenticate, authenticate: Increase in the number of cases of data theft led companies to invest heavily in creating robust authentication systems. With passwords, firewalls and other basic protection methods becoming easily ‘hackable’, organizations shifted towards multi-factor authentication (MFA), which included voice callbacks, SMSes and OTPs. Further, companies were also seen to implement adaptive authentication for protecting their large data. It added a layer of security, helping them protect their data from unauthorized access, while allowing users to access the system without frustrating them. However, adaptive authentication is still at a nascent stage and there is a lot to be done in this domain.
- Introduction of SUBA and Secure SDLC to achieve complete IT security: To create a robust IT security system and prevent issues of data breaches and fraud, organizations were seen to implement solutions such as Security User Behavior Analytics (SUBA) and Secure System-Development Life Cycle (SSDLC). SUBA offered a comprehensive view of user activity across the organization to pin point any suspicious activities in a proactive manner. Together with this, Secure SDLC enabled companies to implement new projects through an integrated quality system. It is expected that these technologies will see comprehensive development in the next year as well.
- IAM is still the need of the hour: IAM tech integration is a journey. There are newer capabilities that are being developed as per the changing business dynamics. So, above the vanilla model of IAM – provisioning, de-provisioning, access management, federation, password management, single sign on (SSO), etc. – this year saw capabilities such as – robust automation, application integrators or connectors, cloud based IAM addition to on premise IAM, privilege accounts monitoring, mobile access provision, multi factor authentication (MFA) adaption, and API integration.
Technology has been constantly evolving and maturing with each year, and 2017 would not be different either. Watch out for our top IT trends predictions for the next year.