In this blog update to my TECHNOLOGY, CONNECTIVITY, SECURITY AND NETWORK TRENDS REPORTS – which is packed with over 100 insights, stats & fact files, new technology trend predictions and thought-leader comments, I cover how the first FIVE of my 10 top technology trends for 2022 are impacting businesses across all sectors, how to best adopt these technological innovations to gain a competitive edge as we emerge from lockdowns and Covid-19, and, how we now face another huge challenge – that of cyber security and how businesses must defend themselves from ever-increasing cyber threats.
So, how is SASE protecting businesses from the boom in cyberattacks and hacks? What new network security technologies are proving essential to protect the 98% unsecured IoT and automation devices? Why is SD-WAN being hailed as “inevitable and unavoidable” by such technology thought leaders as Forbes Technology Council and, how is deviceless SD-WAN replacing VPNs for working from home and remote staff teams? In addition to these questions, I will explain how digital natives in decision-making roles are (obviously) replacing outdated technology as old as they are and why Channel tech providers need to keep pace with this new ‘efficiency focused’ generation of customer. I’ll also touch on some new greener, sustainable tech innovations as businesses make saving on energy costs an immediate and on-going priority.
Automation in Full Motion – secured IoT and automation essential for critical business continuity.
The increased viability and availability of IoT infrastructure will bring automation to medium size enterprises and is starting to level the playing field with large enterprises, enabling greater competition across a global marketplace.
The availability of robotics and IoT infrastructure “as-a-service” means more and more smaller companies will start to take advantage of the opportunities this offers in 2022. But it is not only increased efficiencies and cost savings driving this trend, but also the gains in data-driven insights of operations and processes.
However, with an astounding 98% of IoT devices unsecured (equating to tens of billions of devices globally) these devices are often proven to be the ‘weakest link’ in many corporate and company networks. Security cannot be an afterthought in the world we currently inhabit.
IoT is here to stay, it is an exciting technology with huge potential and almost limitless application, bounded only by our imaginations. However, care must be taken when implementing such a strategy so as not to increase your network attack surface needlessly or unwittingly.
SDWAN 1-2-3 was originally put together to enable retail chains with light IT footprints to benefit from the capabilities that SD-WAN can offer at a price point that make sense and was justifiable, this could just as easily be deployed across an IoT network and secure these vulnerabilities.
The Great Generational Shift – efficiency and flexibility of technology key factors for millennial technology buyers.
With 10,000 baby boomers retiring daily it is clear that the Millennials – the digital native generation – will be filling many of these decision making / tech buyer roles.
Characteristically, Millennials lack tolerance of inefficiency and inflexibility, therefore they will seek to create new efficiencies by embracing technologies and ditching legacy solutions, such as MPLS and VPNs, which are often as old as they are! The desire to innovate is at the core of their business principles, driving new technology adoption. But of course, having an optimal network is what enables many of these new technologies.
For Channel Partners reading this, it is of vital importance for your future success that this trend is recognised and acted upon. The people making significant purchasing decisions are the people who grew up without dial-up broadband, but now live in a world where connectivity is almost ubiquitous, and an Internet connected device lives in most of our pockets. In the technological world, their only constant has been change. They do not shy away from new technologies so selling legacy tech because “that’s what we’ve always done” will no longer be sufficient. Instead, sellers must focus on technology that will enable their new digital native customers, who above all value efficiency and efficacy.
Check out our Channel Partner Programme and see how you can sell SD-WAN and SASE to your customers as a referral, reseller or white label partner using our unique online CHANNEL ASSIST tool.
Green Network Technology and CSR – more cloud and SD-WAN means less DCs, devices, energy, and cooling costs.
Cloud has been a fantastic enabler for modern enterprises, albeit not without its challenges. But cloud also offers greener operations. Cloud infrastructure enabled the enterprise to lease their DC environment from a specialist, meaning that they could lease a small part of a much bigger DC. As with many things, with running a DC, there are economies of scale. Larger DCs allow operators to leverage more cutting edge and green techniques for power and cooling. For example, there are DCs being built inside the arctic circle where the natural climate cools the data halls and the low temperatures reduce resistance in cables, increasing efficiency. But there are better ways to reduce energy use (and costs) and minimise the number of devices required compared to legacy technology, cloud and SD-WAN together offer considerable benefits.
SDWAN Solutions’ VENA and VECTA uCPE devices enable 2 devices to be consolidated into a single appliance that controls both the routing and firewall functions, and depending on the SD-WAN vendor product, the WAN optimiser. Factor in lower consumption of raw materials to manufacture the appliance and the SDWAN Solutions’ product is an altogether greener solution, not to mention a significant cost saver as the VENA and VECTA devices are commercially more attractive and consume less power than traditional OEM hardware devices.
Cyberattacks, Security and SASE – corporate network defence: 2022 biggest technology trend… and challenge
The cat and mouse game between cyber security operators and hackers has long been waged since computer network vulnerabilities were first discovered, but in just weeks of Q1 2022 cyberattacks grew exponentially. 2.3 million or 39% of UK businesses reported being the victim of a cybercrime in 2021, recent surveys report that cyber criminals can penetrate 93% of networks in an average of just 2 days, while software supply chain attacks have increased a by a whopping 650% no doubt fuelled by the fact that 68% of WFH staff have little to no cyber security awareness or training. And it isn’t just the big guys at risk either; in 2021 43% of cyberattacks aimed at small businesses, with just 14% of them having adequate defence. The outlook for 2022 is even more alarming.
With attack methodologies becoming ever more sophisticated and with more and more data being accumulated in the cloud, the amount at stake will continue to increase. The real-world impact of these attacks was stark: food supplies were affected, local fuel prices increased, citizens were denied access to public services, at-risk children’s details were lost and the costs to businesses and public funds ran into hundreds of millions of pounds. This is placing ever-greater focus on SASE and Zero trust network access solutions.
For a long time now, I have been reading online content put out via major media channels and by well-known thought leaders in the IT space regarding the subject of SD-WAN, SASE or a comparison of them both. I have come away from these articles concerned for businesses who rely on this type of content to inform their IT strategy, as more often than not, these articles demonstrate a fundamental lack of understanding of these terms and why they exist. We at SD-WAN Solutions are recognised thought leaders in both SD-WAN and SASE and have long highlighted the power of both technologies when expertly designed and deployed together, but I urge you to read this article by Forbes Technology Council who explain ‘how there is no SASE without SD-WAN, after all why just take our word for it?
Network & SD-WAN Trends – SD-WAN: the great cloud enabler
Cloud has revolutionised how and where we all work, but it is not without its challenges. Whereas previously applications had but one home – the corporate datacentre – they now have many. This has had the knock-on effect of making traffic patterns across the WAN more complex than ever. With different applications having different performance requirements – SD-WAN is the perfect technology to enable the powerful toolset the cloud affords today’s enterprise.
SD-WAN, as a relatively new technology, has not become commoditised or homogenised in the same way that traditional connectivity methods have become. Each vendor is still its own proprietary incarnation of SD-WAN, this means that each vendor has its own strengths and use cases. This requires that an SI or MSP has real expertise across a wide range of vendors to provide the necessary consultancy to the customer and give them the best solution for their requirements. To this end, we will see the emergence of SD-WAN specialist organisations which have this expertise which more traditional MSP/SI/Reseller organisations can leverage by outsourcing their SD-WAN practice.
Again, I quote a reliable, leading third party, Forbes Technology Council, who state “the Modernisation of WAN infrastructures is now unavoidable. Embracing SD-WAN will make it easier for enterprises to adopt programmable, scalable, automated and affordable connectivity solutions. Successful integration and transition needs an experienced system integration partner who will work with the in-house IT transformation and engineering teams.”
At SDWAN Solutions, we specialise in selecting the best SD-WAN vendor for your requirements and budget, designing your SD-WAN to integrate seamlessly with your existing environment and providing a comprehensive management service to ensure that your business is always connected and profitable. We offer many solutions to suit all business types and sectors and our team is always on hand to chat through your options.
If this article has whetted your appetite for more in-depth cutting-edge UK technology, connectivity, security and network insights, complete with trend predictions for 2022, stat & fact files and thought leader comments from SDWAN Solutions’ very own digital native, James Barker, you can read or download his trend reports here.
James Barker has worked in the IT industry since leaving university in 2012, working up from a customer service advisor to the UK technical sales consultancy lead for SDWAN Solutions. James has spent the last 4 years working with SD-WAN having held positions on both the technology vendor and MSP side of the fence. This, and the fact that he works side-by-side with the UK’s only MEF accredited SD-WAN subject matter experts, has enabled James to gain a unique insight into the technology drivers and enterprise trends that underpin a successful SD-WAN strategy for the modern enterprise.
James regularly blogs and posts quality content, insights, trends and statistics via his LinkedIn profile – you can follow James and SDWAN Solutions here