The 2nd half of another year is here once again and as usual, it gives us one more moment to reflect on our New Year goals, how far away we are from achieving them and a chance to develop new methods to meet them. But for analysts in the tech industry, this is a time to access the predictive analysis made at the start of the year with a view to re-affirming these predictions or drafting new ones to fit the times we are in.
Today, both old and new predictions in the field of networks, monitoring, enterprise infrastructure and availability will be analyzed. So this is us officially welcoming you to scrutinize our predictions and expected trends for the remaining months of 2017.
The first half of 2017 bared witness to a series of highly targeted and effective ransomware attacks on a host of computers and servers across the globe. It came as no surprise that after all the dust had settled, these attacks were found to be targeted at the IT infrastructure of both private and public organizations because that is where the money lies.
A great example: the WannaCrypt ransomware which was aimed at the UK’s largest healthcare systems and other vulnerable business infrastructure worldwide. Although the attack was stalled under a week due to the research work of ‘MalwareTech’, a Ph.D. student, WannaCry still recorded significant damage. Since then, security analysts and engineers have released hundreds of posts sharing techniques on stopping these attacks as well as on how to proceed in recovering data from successful attacks. And how successful were these warnings?
On the 28th of June 2017, the world woke up once again to the story of another rather successful attack on business IT infrastructures worldwide and a couple of global brands such as; Oreos, Mondelez etc. have also been affected. According to Europol and other tech observers, this attack dwarfed WannaCry in size and scope with it being referenced as a ‘much more intelligent worm’ than previously experienced.
This means that as ransomware defenses become more prolific and expansive, attackers will keep changing their strategies in an attempt to monetize both unsuspecting and suspecting businesses.
The world is slowly but surely moving to an age of fully interconnected devices across a virtual space. The acceleration of the IoT phenomenon has been in part due to our need to create truly seamless services and tech devices that allow us to easily make virtual decisions using any device regardless of one’s location. Confirming the exponential rise of IoT, Cisco’s Visual Networking Index (VNI) has made its own 2021 prediction of a world hosting more than 27 billion IP network-connected devices, and it’s hard to disagree with this because the writing is on the wall.
The interconnectivity between corporate enterprise networks, home systems, government IT infrastructure and the internet is clearly cause for concern. These fears stem from the complexity IoT services will face when connecting billions of networks which will create security loopholes that could be exploited. And DDoS attacks that prey on connectivity and increased user traffic will play a role in weakening the network security systems that drive the IoT revolution.
A real world example can be seen from the immense DDoS attacks that rendered GoDaddy and the numerous businesses who use its managed services inaccessible for quite some time. Sadly, more intelligent DDoS attacks are to be expected in the future and a variety of protocols and standards must be developed to put the IoT industry in synch to limit the effectiveness of DDoS attacks on the industry.
Time is running out for IPv4 and in a couple of years, its ecosystem will be saturated and the world will have no choice but to fully embrace IPv6. The deployment of IPv6 has been a great success as most internet service providers, broadband internet providers and your local mobile internet operator now ensure that most smart devices run with IPv6 addresses.
Although the progress in terms of IPv6 migration in the mobile and broadband sector has been substantial, enterprises have been a bit slow or reluctant to adopt IPv6 protocols in their networks. This is due in part to businesses age-old aversion to changing what works as well as the security challenges that will come from integrating IPv6 and the unknowns as traffic levels and packet processing requirements exponentially increase as new devices are continually added to the network. Years ago we all worried about the day the routing table would reach 500 prefixes. With IPv6, we’ve only just begun.
The trends for the second half of 2017 are not all bad news as artificial intelligence and machine learning is set to play a part in monitoring and network security. The major reason why these concepts will be integrated by managed service providers in the IT security space is because the intelligent threats enterprise systems face today—like those previously mentioned—have since passed the monitoring capacity of your local IT manager and humans in general.
This means it’s time to turn to the machines, real-time data analytics and artificial intelligence to help us fight our battles. Now, there are quite a few service providers who advertise their products as AI infused with the right algorithms dedicated to tackling cyber threats in real-time. The gradual success of IBM Watson in championing AI as a cybersecurity tool will definitely be mirrored by a plethora of start-ups and established service providers as the year goes by.
With all of the new challenges we face including security threats, IPv6 traffic, more traffic overall, and the exponential growth of connected devices, the requirement for unprecedented levels of availability is now. The more our lives depend on the continuous availability of connected devices, the more we can’t live without them. In fact, there will come a point where lives will be severely at risk when connectivity is lost. Think healthcare, aviation, policing, national security… to name a few. Now is the time to ensure the cloud-accessible services your customers depend on are always on.
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