As we are now in 2015, we have been looking into the crystal ball to see what the biggest IT trends for the coming year will be – including the price of storage, the multi-tier internet, and the security worries surrounding the Internet of Things.
Remember when storage was expensive? Now they're giving it away. What's that all about?
In 2015, personal and data privacy laws will enter uncharted territory as even more of the world's data will be moved, and entrusted, to the cloud. Vendors such as Google, Microsoft and Amazon are now practically giving away cloud storage to both businesses and consumers.
What do they have to gain by holding onto your data? Who keeps track of what you store and what can they learn from the various files you store? And what obligations do these vendors have to keep your data private? Even data bound by specific privacy laws, such as HIPAA, can be successfully subpoenaed by law enforcement.
So by offering free storage, this year it will be interesting to see what organisations will learn from your data, how they will use it, and with whom they'll share it.
The app strikes back!
There will never be 100% security on the internet. Cyber-criminals will continue to steal passwords and confidential information, and identity theft will continue to be rampant. This is a reality and it won't change in 2015.
Risk-based security measures which adapt in line with the current threat level will become more important. In light of the fact that smartphones and tablets are pretty much a given in most companies today, we expect to see an increasing number of apps with integrated security features. This approach will remove the reliance on a singular app such as an antivirus utility to provide blanket detection and defence across a device against attacks such as malware, key logging and tracking.
Instead, individual apps will contain their own antimalware technologies and predictive detection capabilities built in to help spot attacks targeted against them specifically. These intelligent apps will be developed to proactively recognise security risks and be equipped to fight back against attacks.
This means that even in a BYOD scenario, handheld devices will always have a certain level of security rooted to the applications being used for whatever purpose – whether personal use or work.
The multi-tier internet
In 2014, we saw the end of the notion of net neutrality. As organisations such as Netflix agreed deals with major mobile and fixed line network operators to ensure end users received fast and free-flowing access to streaming video content without throttling, so the first mainstream seeds of a two-speed internet were sown.
The year ahead will only see more of these deals, the establishment of which will solidify a fast lane and slow lane for internet service providers and for the user experience.
Businesses and consumers have benefitted in recent years from rock-bottom broadband prices as service providers engaged in a senseless race to the bottom, believing that customer retention was more important than profitable bandwidth services. In 2015 we will see prices climb back up, either directly through higher service fees or indirectly through subsidies from major application and service vendors, while those on the lowest tariffs find themselves ring fenced in the slowest band of internet traffic.
Those prepared to pay a premium for their connection or for value-added services will find they enjoy Quality of Service (QoS) improvements, higher throughput caps and less aggressive traffic shaping – fast lane refinements to their online experience that will ensure users can fully enjoy bandwidth-intensive activities such as video streaming, Voice over IP, remote access and conferencing – while the providers of these services can maintain service delivery that keeps support calls down and customer retention up.