Making sense of a blurred digital world
Tue 19 Jan 2016 | Lee Field
Technology has transformed the business world, changing the way we work and disrupting entire industries. How a business responds to this will determine who succeeds and who fails.
To take just one example, in just a few years cloud has evolved from niche, to providing a competitive advantage, to simply being the way business is done. In fact cloud is now so ubiquitous that half of businesses expect to use it for at least 75% of their workloads by 2017 .
IT is no longer a backroom function: it’s central to the way businesses operate, no matter what the country, no matter what the industry. But with that increased importance comes increased complexity and increased risk. The explosion of devices has led to an exponential increase in data. And as access to that data becomes easier and more flexible, it drives demand for more apps, more devices and more data. It’s a self-sustaining cycle, and the volume of data is predicted to grow at 40% a year for the next decade .
But who manages this data? Who secures the cloud? Who is liable in the event that something goes wrong?
While the enterprise grapples with these questions, criminals are becoming ever more sophisticated at exploiting weaknesses in cloud and the enterprise, at an estimated cost of $1.7 trillion globally in 2014 . Attacks can take just seconds to execute, and often take days to be discovered.
It’s no longer enough to think of cloud, network and security as separate issues. In the new digital world the lines between them are blurred. What’s needed is a cohesive strategy that embraces the opportunities technology provides while mitigating the risk, deriving a competitive advantage.
At the heart of this is intelligent networking. Networks may not be glamorous, but they are the nervous system of any business, enabling virtually every digital task we carry out from sending an email to running an electricity grid.
But many networks are based on old technology, routing traffic from one box to another in an inefficient, expensive and increasingly fragile chain. Adding new functionality, or reallocating existing resources, can be a time consuming and costly process, and yet customers and employees increasingly expect instant results.
The only way to square this circle and deliver on the promise of anytime, everywhere computing is to adopt new business practices and new technologies like software defined networking, which IDC estimates will be worth almost $4bn in 2016. It’s a topic explored in a recent Verizon whitepaper. By building agility, flexibility, scalability and security into your network and your business, it’s possible to successfully navigate the blurred world.