2018 Key IT Trends and Takeaways

2018 Key IT Trends and Takeaways

Looking back at the IT landscape of 2018 is helpful in pinpointing technology maturity, highlighting any remaining gaps or risks, and exploring advancements that earned the confidence of users and investors alike. The past 12 months brought with it valuable insights in the areas of networking, security, and cloud communications. As executives aim to digitally disrupt their industries in the year ahead, the trends of 2018 can set the stage for their competitive strategies.

Here are ten notable movements that occured in 2018. Each trend comes with an executive takeaway and some suggested reading, compliments of our thought leaders at Masergy.

Security

Overall, Enterprise Security Strategies were Inadequate

Status-quo enterprise security strategies continued to prove ineffective, as 2018 brought more large-scale breaches.

Executive Takeaway: “Change is imperative. If your security strategy isn’t actively evolving and maturing, your security risk likely poses a very real threat that has the potential to dismantle your entire business. CIOs and CISOs need fresh game plans and partners to help them cost-effectively evaluate their existing security posture, designing new strategies for improvement.”

- David Venable, V.P. of Cybersecurity, Masergy

Suggested Reading - eGuide: True Network Security Depends On More Than Perimeter Defenses


Cloud Security Strategies Proved Effective

Security was originally thought to be an inhibitor for cloud adoption, but cloud security strategies proved effective in 2018. Large cloud providers (SaaS/IaaS/PaaS) continued to demonstrate strong competencies and ownership of security, implementing security measures on a scale and scope that benefited all stakeholders.

Executive Takeaway: “Security in the cloud is considered successful today, but remember that the cloud tenant still has significant security responsibilities that must be addressed to ensure secure deployment. Also, any widespread or global infrastructure outages in the future may yet test its availability and recovery capabilities."

- Jay Barbour, Director of Security Product Management, Masergy

Suggested Reading - Article: How to Embrace SaaS while Managing Risks with a CASB Solution


Managed Detection and Response Accelerated Threat Discovery

As an emerging set of security services, managed detection and response solutions proved effective in 2018. Enterprises that adopted the service saw marked improvements, reducing the time it takes them to identify and mitigate an attack.

Executive Takeaway: “Some enterprises are making security strides. Investments in managed detection and response solutions demonstrate ROI in the way of reducing the dwell time attackers have inside your network.”

- Craig D’Abreo, V.P. of Security Operations, Masergy

Suggested Reading - Case Study: WannaCry, HIPAA Violations, Phishing: Three Stories of Security Success


Networking

Service Providers Began to Make the Shift toward Self-Adjusting Networking

Innovative network service providers continued to lay the foundation for secure, self-adjusting networks, showing early evidence of the networking solutions of the future.

Executive Takeaway: “CIOs should have self-adjusting networks on their short-term horizon. That means that they should start sketching their vision for the “ideal network” and begin working with innovative service providers to collaboratively design rules for their network operations. These playbooks will lay the groundwork for self-adjusting networks.”

- Terry Traina, S.V.P. of Engineering, Masergy

Suggested Reading - Blog: Intent-Based Networking and the Future of Software Defined Networks


Buyers Shifted toward Agile Solutions and Nimble Providers

Gartner’s 2018 Magic Quadrant for global network services revealed a shift in buying behavior--CIOs are emphasizing solution agility and are more willing to utilize smaller, flexible providers.

Executive Takeaway: “Network services are no longer about just speeds, feeds, and price. Now is a good time to rethink your global network RFP process and decision making criteria, taking into consideration agility, flexibility, and digital transformation enablement.”

- Chris Werpy, Senior Vice President of Solutions and Services, Masergy

Suggested Reading - InfoGraphic: Five MUST-HAVE Questions for your Network Services RFP


Hybrid Networking Gained Ground

In 2018, enterprises continued to move to hybrid networks that incorporate both private and public access into their WANs.

Executive Takeaway: “Hybrid networking is becoming a requirement in the technology arms race because it helps enterprises balance price, performance, and business continuity risk. To strike the right balance, CIOs should chart their risk tolerance as it relates to each office or branch location, user group, and business application. Once this evaluation is complete, they should map their business needs to the various network access methodologies that meet both their performance requirements and any budgetary constraints.”

- Ray Watson, V.P. Technology, Masergy

Suggested Reading - InfoGraphic: What’s the ROI on Masergy’s Hybrid Networking?


SD-WAN Solutions Continued to Advance

In 2018, SD-WAN solutions continued to evolve and are now being embedded into the WAN infrastructure.

Executive Takeaway: “With SD-WAN solutions still advancing, the marketplace is also rapidly changing. Investors should focus on fully managed SD-WAN services that are vendor agnostic. Managed services that aren’t tied to the products of a specific vendor are future proof and are more likely to be seamlessly implemented.”

- Paul Ruelas, Director of Product Management, Masergy

Suggested Reading - Infographic: SD-WAN a Welcome Addition to Your Hybrid Network


CLOUD COMMUNICATIONS

The Death of On-Premise Communications Systems was Officially Confirmed

Gartner’s UCaaS Magic Quadrant report put the nail in the PBX coffin, confirming the suspected death of on-premise PSTN communications systems.

Executive Takeaway: “If you’re waiting for a sign, this is it. CIOs who don’t migrate to cloud-based unified communications will get left behind.”

- Dean Manzoori, V.P. of Cloud Communications, Masergy

Suggested Reading - White Paper: Global UCaaS RFPs: The Five Question Approach Every CIO Should Use


More Large Enterprises Moved their Contact Centers to the Cloud

In 2018, more large enterprises adopted cloud-based, unified communications. Contact centers also started to follow their lead--making mass migrations to the cloud.

Executive Takeaway: “To accelerate cloud migration in the contact center, executives should select a partner that can ensure a frictionless implementation. Furthermore, any complex migration can be simplified by partnering with a single provider that brings solutions and expertise across all areas--cloud contact centers, UCaaS, SIP trunking, networking, and security.”

- Maurie Munro, Director of UCaaS Solutions, Masergy

Suggested Reading - eGuide: Optimize the Performance of Your Contact Center from the Cloud


Users Became More Comfortable with Video Conferencing and Team Collaboration Technologies

Video conference technologies and Team Collaboration applications emerged on a larger scale in 2018, showing evidence that user comfort levels and confidence are rising.

Executive Takeaway: “Enterprises are more easily recognizing the productivity and cost savings from their investments. If you have not yet embraced these technologies, now is a great time to get on the bandwagon.”

- Dean Manzoori, V.P. of Cloud Communications, Masergy

Suggested Reading - White Paper: 5 Ways Cloud Communications Can Lower Your TCO


Ready to discuss these trends and design an IT strategy that will help your enterprise operate at the speed of what’s coming next? Contact Masergy today for a free consultation.

About Terry Traina

Senior Vice President, Engineering, Masergy
Terry Traina is the senior vice president of engineering and has been with Masergy since 2004. Terry leads various teams including research and development, platform architecture, software engineering, and product development. Terry has over 20 years of experience in the telecommunications industry specializing in building and managing everything from enterprise software-defined networks to routing and switching platforms. Prior to joining Masergy, Terry has held various technical positions at Chiaro Networks, Allied Riser Communications, and EDS. Terry holds a bachelor’s of science in electrical engineering from University of Southwestern Louisiana.