Welcome to a New Year! 2016 was a tumultuous year in IT and as usual, industry publications, bloggers and others are rolling out their reviews of the previous year and their predictions for the coming year.
Array has a unique vantage point on networking and security, as our products interface with one or more infrastructure elements to ensure application throughput, network security, WAN efficiency and other functions that enable users to remain productive while keeping networks and resources safe.
Given our vantage point, there are a few IT predictions for 2017 we can shed some additional light on.
First, a new solution that you’ll hear a lot more about in 2017 – network functions platforms – will solve the last conundrum of cloud and virtualization: the tradeoff between agility and performance.
As we discussed in a recent blog post, cloud and virtualization may not be the panacea that many seem to proclaim. For application workloads, general-purpose virtual environments will function just fine. However, virtual functions like ADCs, SSL VPNs, Web application firewalls and others require hardware-based SSL processing to perform at their best.
You can easily see this for yourself – just compare the published performance specs for hardware-based products against their virtual appliance version. In almost all cases, the software-based products’ SSL performance will be less than that of the dedicated appliances.
The network functions platform will provide an alternative to general-purpose virtualized environments, an alternative that assigns dedicated CPU, SSL, memory and interfaces to each VM. We believe this solution will see greater adoption due to its ability to solve the problem of agility at scale.
Second, there will be continuing proliferation of attacks and malware in 2017. The breaches of 2016 were staggering. Account information for 400 million FriendFinder users was exposed. Multiple medical facilities were hit with ransomware attacks. Yet another major OpenSSL vulnerability was discovered. In 2017, hackers will continue to develop new methods to steal lucrative personal and corporate assets, and IT managers will do well to maintain a strong security posture, and continue to investigate new strategies and technologies to thwart attacks and malware.
This comes with a proviso, however: Even mature technologies can have vulnerabilities that lie undetected for years until they’re either discovered by security researchers or become known via a malevolent exploit. For example, RDP is a great remote access strategy, as it limits network exposure; However, just recently, a new malware called Trojan.sysscan was detected that can compromise RDP. And it’s not the first RDP vulnerability; a remote code execution bug was found in 2015, for example.
For any strategy or technology you employ, considered a layered security approach. For RDP for example, if you have an SSL VPN in place for remote and mobile employees, put your RDP server behind it so that the extra authentication and SSL secure pipe will help protect the server. In addition, once connections are authenticated, SSL VPNs can use a full reverse proxy that completely masks the RDP server from attackers. What they can’t see, they’re going to have a really hard time trying to crack.
Third and rounding out the list is the Internet of Things (IoT). Industry analyst firm IDC estimates that U.S. enterprises and others invested more than $200 billion in IoT hardware, software and accouterments in 2016. While much of this investment was by industrial and transportation businesses looking to streamline smart grids, manufacturing operations, freight monitoring and other use cases, IDC and others expect the insurance, retail and healthcare industries to rapidly adopt IoT as well. Clearly, IoT has hit the inflection point just as cloud and virtualization have.
As IoT adoption increases, it will unleash a torrent of new data traffic and applications like remote health management and insurance telematics. The most efficient way to assure performance of the critical applications that are the ‘home port’ of these new IoT deployments is to be prepared with technologies like application delivery controllers to ensure scalable performance and high availability.
These are the trends we’ll be watching closely in 2017. Join the conversation – tell us your predictions or trends by filling out the comment form below.