HoHo… Oh… ! Back to reality and back to business for 2012. 2011 saw some incredible changes in technology. From cloud computing craziness to mobile device madness, these trends are by no means new - but I predict these technologies will rise up and continue to grow momentum in 2012 – so much so that many of us will see transformational change to our business IT this year.
If you’re in business or just need to keep tabs on technology for your organisation you’re almost certainly going to want to know about these tantalising technology trends..
1. Let’s get (more) mobile!
Without a doubt we have never seen such a rapid adoption of technology as smartphones like the iPhone or the Galaxy and tablet computers like the iPad. It is estimated that globally there are almost 3 billion mobile devices and this is likely to double in 2012. Far from the days when mobile devices were primarily used for emails i.e. Blackberry. Now, these devices are being used to connect to all kinds of company resources like corporate data, or company desktops. This is an exciting opportunity but one that needs to be managed and considered. For example, the average company network used to support a certain number of desktop, some laptops and perhaps a wireless network. With the effective number of devices doubling, and with company resources having to be available for extended hours this will present some new challenges to those organisations who adopt mobile technology ad-hoc.
But hey.. without new toys to play with we surely would never evolve and many company’s are addressing these problems head on through the use of new “virtual” technology which I’ll discuss in future articles.
2012 will see us more mobile, with more applications available to mobile workers.
No that’s no a typo. HaaS or Hardware as a Service (also known as IaaS or Infrastructure as a Service) is seeing company’s rethink their technology purchasing decisions. Traditionally, organisations who were cashed up would either buy equipment upfront or take out some kind of finance option.
Today however, IT support providers like I Know IT offer hardware and core technology like Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Exchange as a service. Unlike traditional leasing where you adopt hardware and then purchase software later on. HaaS aims to bundle hardware and software into a monthly pay-as-you-go plan. This doesn’t just serve organisations who are tight on cash (although it’s a pretty good option for those who are), but rather with the rapid changes in technology HaaS aims to provide you with the equipment you need, the software you need and the routine upgrades and maintenance required to run a successful business.
This type of arrangement keeps business on top of technology changes without making large capital outlays and is a significant trend that gained pace in 2011 and will undoubtedly gain further traction in 2012.
What’s another reason why HaaS will be more attractive…?
3. Clear Skies or Partial Cloud?
Cloud computing has already been adopted – at least partially – by many company’s in such a short space of time. Cloud is a concept of delivering IT services online rather than from a traditional office/server environment. Software such as email programs i.e. Exchange are now becoming more efficient to be delivered online by a service provider, rather than purchasing the software. Other applications like accounting programs e.g. Xero have followed suit and the consensus is that “icon by icon” more of your IT services will be delivered via the cloud as the technology improves.
It’s not all that simple yet. Cloud is dependent on appropriate high speed Internet services which aren’t always available or affordable, or means changing older legacy applications such as stock control, asset management or accounting programs over to modern cloud friendly versions. These aren’t always on offer or not always palatable to the budget.
Nonetheless, cloud will continue to spark internet in 2012 and take the above HaaS point and call it Technology as a Service and the way your IT is delivered is changing forever.
If you’re still puzzled by cloud, earlier last year I put together a series titled “What on Earth Is Cloud” which you can read here.
4. Faster Networks
Late 2011 saw the launch of 4G networks in Australia. This new type of network is significantly faster than 3G which pretty much all of us have become accustomed to from using our mobile phones and our 3G dongles which plug into notebooks.
We’ve also heard of (but most of us have not seen) progress on the National Broadband Network which is also deemed to be substantially faster as it replaces the older copper network.
Networks are not only getting faster in 2012, businesses almost certainly have to adopt faster, more robust networks. The sudden shift to mobility, audio, video and voice over IP technology means company’s are having to provide more bandwidth to their employees to have access to online content, business tools and even social media.
5. Security Breaches Aplenty
Security is such a broad topic and unfortunately, it isn’t taken seriously by many company’s often choosing ease of use by not enforcing password policies or restricting access to parts of their IT system. 2012 will present a far greater security challenge. Although we often hear in the media of hacking pranks and occasional malicious exploits of large company’s, the broad adoption of mobile devices and shift toward remote computing means systems are not only more accessible to employees, but more attractive to hackers who might otherwise focus on big targets.
Last year saw DistributeIT – a well known web hosting company in Australia, get hacked and not only lose thousands of websites, but had many of then irreversibly destroyed leaving businesses to rebuild their online presence.
Many businesses also fell victim to “phishing” scams last year – a type of trick played by hackers to gain access to bank accounts and other personal information. These scams are likely to increase in 2012 and target businesses of all sizes.
What’s more, with more technology being farmed out to the cloud, for some this means more points of entry for a hacker to take advantage by gaining access to systems, often unbeknownst to the company until something is stolen or destroyed.
IT security will undoubtedly need to be stepped up and will be a challenge in 2012 and beyond and I predict we’ll see more of an emphasis on IT service providers to not only provide IT support or IT advice but also provide managed security to provide business owners with more visibility into their IT environment and who has access.
So there you have it. My 5 tantalising technology tips for 2012. Stay tuned to JamesVickery.com.au for more on these topics as well as tips, advice and discussions about technology that affects your business.