IT is a fast-paced field, where each new year brings new impactful trends. The only thing constant is change. And it’s important to keep up.
That’s because failing to navigate IT trends means falling behind competitors, or, worse, falling off the map.
But, on the flip side, staying on the right side of information technology trends will give your business a boost and unlock opportunities for growth. The businesses that succeed in 2019 will be the ones that manage their IT systems well – the ones that use IT to avoid downtime, optimize systems, and create better experiences with technology.
You can do it. And if you’re still a bit intimidated, don’t worry – we’re here to help. To that end, here are the 7 information technology trends that will impact you in 2019:
- Remote working
- Smart devices
- Cyber attacks
- Security systems
- Spam blocking
- More of the cloud
- Managed IT services
Let’s dive into each in more detail so that you and your business can stay ahead of the curve.
1. Remote working will become even more prevalent.
Remote working has been steadily gaining prevalence for a few years, but in 2019 its increasingly-widespread adoption is quickly transforming the workplace and shifting the landscape of office IT in the process.
Here’s what that means, practically: in 2018, more than half of employees spent at least one day per week working remotely, and that mark will only continue to increase. As it does, it brings with it a host of IT complications.
For instance, how do remote workers access to network devices (like secure shared drives, etc.)? How do office phone systems allow for the possibility of remote work? Are remote workers issued business devices, or should they use their own devices at home – and how does either scenario impact your business’ security posture? And so on.
The key, really, is in preparation; remote working can be appealing for employees and businesses alike, but in order to maintain business security and productivity, it takes IT intentionality rather than a haphazard approach.
2. There will be more smart devices on your network.
In 2019, the number of devices on your network promises to increase. This will happen through two channels.
First, many companies are adopting bring-your-own-device policies, which can save on hardware costs as employees are tasked with bringing their own laptops and smartphones in order to get work done. The drawback, of course, is a lower degree of control over device security (and a greater variance of device types on the network).
Again, a sound network and solid preparation are key to managing a bring-your-own-device policy successfully.
Second, an increasing amount of common office devices are connected to the network as well as part of what’s called the internet of things (IoT). So, 2019 is the year of the smart thermostat. And smart access control. And the smart fridge. Maybe even the smart dishwasher.
You get the idea.
Smart, connected devices are appealing because they allow for functional control that’s both more customizable and location independent – so, for instance, via smart access control the office doors could be opened as needed without the office manager needing to be on the premises. Yet each smart device added to your business’ network introduces new complications and potential vulnerabilities.
In fact, some research suggests that the majority of smart devices are incredibly vulnerable to exploitation as security measures lag behind adoption. One team of researchers were able to hack a variety of high-end IoT devices within half an hour per attempt.
More devices can mean more possibilities for your business, but it can mean more security hazards, too. Tread carefully.
3. Cyber attacks will continue to increase.
On a similar note, it’s (unfortunately) almost inevitable that cyber attacks will continue to increase in 2019.
That’ll happen in a variety of different ways, as evidenced in the latest reports and statistics tallied in 2018. Mobile malware attacks are increasing. More than half of businesses have been hacked. And the cost of data breaches is rising as approximately 12 billion records were expected to be compromised by 2018’s final count.
It all adds up to a high-priority concern for any business – even the SMBs and mid-sized firms that might hope to remain unaffected.
4. Security systems will be more advanced.
While the rate of cyberattacks seems poised to increase, the level of defense seems poised to rise, as well.
That’s both in terms of technological robustness, and in terms of raw dollars spent (as illustrated in this figure from Statista.com):
US Cybersecurity Spending 2010-2018 (in USD Billions)
That money will likely go toward advancements in:
Flexible defense strategies. Research suggests that the most consistently successful defense mechanisms are (somewhat ironically) the ones which are most adaptable to varying threats.
Deep learning. Increasingly, AI and machine learning algorithms are being implemented in the cybersecurity sphere to identify, tag, and prevent the anomalous behaviors that signal a hack.
Hardware authentication. This is of special importance as the internet of things continues to grow; hardware authentication adds an extra layer of security in validating users and devices.
User training. For all of the technological advancements in cybersecurity, the weakest links are often still people. User training programs can play critical roles in supporting best practices that reduce the risk of attacks.
5. Spam calls will increasingly be prevented automatically.
Here’s an interesting and useful trend that’s an outcome of increasingly intelligent systems: spam call prevention.
Third-party systems like Truecaller and Robokiller can automatically identify and block telemarketers and bots. And for mobile users, Google and Samsung both offer devices with built-in spam blocking.
Most of these mechanisms flag the incoming call as spam automatically, based on registered spam numbers and suspicious call characteristics, and then give users the option to block them or filter them accordingly.
While spam blocking is largely consumer-focused right now, watch for this to soon be incorporated into an office phone system near you.
6. The cloud gets more complicated.
If there was an IT buzzword hall-of-fame, “The Cloud” would undoubtedly be a first-ballot entrant.
While it’s still popular, the buzz around the term in 2019 has faded somewhat as it’s transitioned from jargon into familiar language. But that doesn’t mean that the impacts of cloud migrations won’t continue to be felt this year.
More traditional on-premise solutions, such as firewalls and intrusion prevention systems, will increasingly be virtualized in the cloud. Hybrid solutions (combining on-premise components with cloud systems) will become more closely integrated. Major cloud providers (AWS, Microsoft, etc.) will continue to expand and drive down costs, while local co-location providers will increasingly offer higher-level customization and customer service.
All told, cloud systems will only continue to expand this year, and businesses will be wise to factor that growth into their 2019 IT considerations.
7. Managed IT services make the most sense.
Finally, in 2019, managed IT services will make the most sense for the vast majority of businesses.
As the rate of technological change continues to climb, the traditional break-fix model of IT service becomes less and less viable. In other words, it no longer makes sense to pay IT companies an hourly rate when things break or systems need to be updated, because the pace of change has necessitated a more consistent (and higher) level of service.
Instead, future-thinking businesses are increasingly transitioning to a fixed, monthly payment model that regulates costs and aligns the incentives of IT providers with the businesses they serve.
Note: there’s a fuller argument for the usefulness of managed IT services. But for our purposes here, the important takeaway is that 2019 promises to be a year of moving toward MSP solutions.
Are your IT systems prepared for 2019?
Hopefully, our review of the upcoming trends has given you a head start as you consider your business’ IT strategy this year.
Are you prepared to navigate these trends? And, most importantly – are your IT systems prepared to support your business this year?
If you’d like a free IT consult on the health of your business’s IT, let’s talk. At Xecu.net, we take pride in fulfilling technology needs with our Frederick-leading managed services offering.