Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2014-2015

Mobile and cloud hosting services are moving technology in new directions in 2014, as an infographic from points out. Based on a report presented by Gartner at the Gartner Symposium/IT Expo, the infographic reveals ten clear strategic technology trends impacting businesses and consumers in 2014.

Mobile Device Diversity and Management

The rapid adoption of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) in many workplaces has brought new challenges for security professionals. 2014 is the year professionals will realize the risks related to mobile devices and strengthen policies to address these risks.

Mobile Apps and Applications

Gartner predicts that apps will continue to grow in popularity and applications will start to dwindle as users go increasingly mobile. For developers, the push toward HTML5 and the browser as a delivery mechanism will change the development environment.

The Internet of Everything

For both businesses and consumers, internet connectivity will go beyond devices to include wearable items, household appliances, field equipment, and much more.

Hybrid Cloud and IT as a Service Broker

In its report, Gartner stresses the importance of bringing personal clouds and external private cloud services. Cloud environments should be set up with a hybrid future in mind.

Client/Cloud Architecture

The architecture of client/cloud computing is changing, with the client serving as the application on a PC or mobile device and the cloud requiring scalability. Applications must be able to run on multiple devices.

The Era of Personal Cloud

Thanks to the emerging personal cloud, services will become more important than services. While equipment will still be important, they will merely be a conduit to the apps and data a user needs.

Software Defined Anything

Known as SDx, Software Defined Anything encapsulates the networking, data centers, storage, and storage networks that make up technology today. SDx calls for improved standards for cloud computing and development.

Web-Scale IT

Calling upon the experience of large cloud providers like Amazon and Google, Gartner created a term called “Web-Scale IT.” This term refers to the need for enterprises to examine the IT value chain for improvements in every area across the organization.

Smart Machines

Devices will become more sophisticated through the year 2020 as machines like IBM’s Watson show more human qualities. Gartner predicts this smart machine era will be among the most disruptive in IT history.

3-D Printing

2014 will be the year mainstream 3-D adoption begins to grow, as the number of units shipped this year should grow by 75 percent. Gartner predicts this will be followed by double growth in 2015.

Online Attacks Rose 81% in 2011

The war between legitimate data users and criminals interested in exploiting their data escalated again in 2011, as the number of malicious attacks on computer systems rose 81 percent from the previous year. That’s according to web security vendor Symantec, which just released an annual report on the subject.

The company, which said it blocked more than 5.5 million attacks over the year, attributes the increase to more sophisticated malware, new threats to mobile devices and thieves’ exploitation of social networks to reach new victims.

One of the most serious types of online criminality is targeted attacks intended to steal customer data or high-value secrets. While the term “corporate espionage” may conjure up images of huge, sophisticated technology enterprises, the report found that half of all targeted attacks were launched against companies with no more than 2,500 employees. A full 18 percent of the targets had 250 workers or fewer. Symantec said that may reflect attempts to reach high-value targets through their vendors or partners.

The industries most likely to be targeted for attacks were government, manufacturing and finance, and the specific people most likely to be hit were company executives.

Data breaches exposed more than 232.4 million identities during 2011. Health care companies accounted for by far the largest number of breaches, 43 percent of the total, but breaches in computer software and information technology tended to be much more significant, with those two industries accounting for 85 percent of exposed identities.

The growth of bring-your-own-device policies creates a huge new area of concern for companies, which are now more likely to be vulnerable to whatever malware employees picks up by using their social networks or by downloading software for their personal use. Another trend that calls for increased caution is the growing use of cloud computing, which demands data encryption, security around how data can be accessed and attention to the credentials of all IT support firms involved in the system.

The news from 2011 wasn’t all bad, though. The report found that the amount of spam dropped, largely thanks to law enforcement action against Rustock, a worldwide network that had sent huge amounts of spam. The percentage of email that was spa fell from 88.5 percent to 75.1 percent in 2011.