What to expect in cloud, cybersecurity, networking, IT service management and project management this year
An eventful 2017 will lead to an even more frenetic 2018, according to several Global Knowledge subject matter experts. Many of our major tech trends and predictions for the coming year are direct results, and sometimes fallouts, from major market-shifting surges in cloud implementation, cyberattacks and Internet of Things (IoT).
From networking to project management to cryptojacking (guard your bitcoin, people!), our experts single out the key trend areas for 2018 and predict how they will affect organizations, individuals and the IT industry. Each section also discusses how Global Knowledge currently supports or will support you for each tech trend.
Multi-cloud management will become increasingly vital
Organizations no longer want to put all their eggs in one basket—that’s why many are shifting to multi-cloud environments. A recent RightScale webinar, Top 10 Cloud Trends for 2018 and Actions You Can Take Now, mentions that companies are using on average at least three different public clouds to run applications and to experiment with development and testing. Different cloud providers who offer different services may align more to your business objectives and desired outcomes. So using Amazon Web Services (AWS) for core infrastructure services, while at the same time using Google Cloud for different application services, has become more of the norm than an anomaly.
As this trend continues, there is going to be a greater need for multi-cloud governance in 2018 and beyond. IT spend is quickly shifting toward cloud so organizations must govern cloud use and optimize cloud spend.
We anticipate tech providers will follow Cisco’s lead and build multi-cloud management tools to help organizations better manage and run these increasingly complex cloud environments.
We also predict a greater focus on resource management, which is critical to maintain the clarity of integration needs across all platforms.
If you are currently or plan to operate a multi-cloud environment in the coming year, Global Knowledge can improve your understanding of these environments.
“Not only are we creating vendor-neutral courses that the market is missing to help architects better understand and design multi-cloud and hybrid cloud architectures, we are an authorized training partner for all the leading cloud contenders,” said Pete Vorenkamp, Global Senior Portfolio Director for Cloud Computing.
Cost management is the next big ticket for cloud users
Organizations will use the cloud … OK, so that’s not a groundbreaking prediction. But now that cloud adoption has been embraced, what is the next step?
According to Vorenkamp, it’s avoiding waste, and therefore money.
“Cost management and cost optimization are the next big tickets for our cloud users,” Vorenkamp said. “RightScale estimates cloud users are wasting 30 percent of their cloud spend, but in reality it’s probably even higher. This clearly does happen and it’s a mistake that everyone will want to avoid as adoption continues to grow.”
Going forward, organizations—from executives to the frontline cloud services users—will need to understand how the provider’s pricing model and billing work so that they can determine the best way to operate in this highly complex area of cloud.
Vorenkamp says this is the year when people will finally be held accountable for the cloud products and services they’re using.
“The first step is usage but costs and billing are areas that need consideration simultaneously and constantly,” he said. “After companies get a handle on how they’re utilizing the cloud, in relation to costs, they’ll need to get a handle on how to maximize the usage and spend to their advantage to avoid wasting money.”
Global Knowledge is currently in development on a vendor-neutral course that addresses multi-cloud governance. The course will focus on managing cloud implementation, application and usage and how it affects business planning, performance and costs.
Cloud implementation has elevated four other IT services, which are here to stay
Several IT services work in conjunction with cloud to maximize the entire IT stack and push business forward. Well, those services have become trends in their own right. And they aren’t going anywhere.
Vorenkamp expects 2018 to be a big year for the following:
- Serverless computing
- Artificial intelligence/machine learning
Each will trend for their own respective reasons, but the end goal of these services is to take full advantage of the power of cloud.
“These trends are accelerating,” Vorenkamp said. “They’re here to stay and will impact the internal skills that are going to morph alongside the technology. As technology continues to advance at the rapid rate it currently is, I expect to see more of these services highlighted in the year to come.”
Containers will trend because they enable companies to deploy and run applications more efficiently in the cloud. IoT and machine learning allow companies to capitalize on all of the data being collected and apply the learned analytics without the programming need for developers.
Global Knowledge’s ample portfolio supports all of these services. In terms of containers, we offer Docker training that teaches everything from foundational to advanced techniques. Big players like Google Cloud, IBM and AWS have courses that cover IoT and machine learning. Vorenkamp also expects to see more serverless computing training as the topic matures.
Global Knowledge is also expanding new agnostic skills training in data sciences, analytics and IoT to help build foundational skills needed to excel.
Recommended cloud computing courses
If you’re not aware of cryptojacking, you will be
With the recent boom in cryptocurrency, such as bitcoin, hackers are seeking to capitalize. Cryptojacking is using someone else’s computer or system resources to mine cryptocurrency without their knowledge. Specifically, when a cloud server is used without knowledge, for any purpose, that is now known as cloudjacking. It can be used for mining cryptocurrency, as well as for storing illicit data or even as a base for launching other attacks.
“In general, there has been an overall rise in cybercriminals stealing processing power vs. stealing data and cryptojacking is an example of this phenomenon,” said Dave Buster, Global Senior portfolio Director for Cybersecurity. “Another example is the increase in botnet attacks. Systems are expensive and it’s a logical next step for cybercriminals to exploit the millions of devices that are already connected to the internet.”
But with added attention comes greater awareness. We predict that as users become more conscious of the threats of cryptojacking, the more steps they’ll take to protect themselves. Through awareness, there’s a greater chance people will recognize when cybercriminals are stealing their stuff. CompTIA CyberSecure teaches individuals how to protect themselves and their organizations, and basically how to be a good cyber citizen.
Expect a rise in zero-day attacks
Zero-day attacks, also known as zero-day exploits, target software or hardware vulnerabilities that are unknown to its creators. Since the vulnerabilities are unknown, these attacks are incredibly difficult to detect. Once a zero-day attack is identified, the attack is already underway.
Buster predicts an increase in these types of attacks for a couple reasons.
“We’ll see more zero-day attacks this year because a hacker group called The Shadow Brokers recently leaked a number of NSA exploits that target enterprise firewalls, antivirus software and Microsoft solutions,” Buster said.
This leak is putting a spotlight on vulnerabilities in new technology that the manufacturers were unaware of. More and more of those vulnerabilities will come up throughout the year. They are tracked in a national database by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
In addition, hackers have realized that companies just don’t keep up with patching old systems. Often, new vulnerabilities are discovered in older, obsolete systems that are no longer supported, but still in service and haven’t been updated. This was the case with the Equifax breach.
The prevalence of zero-day attacks will make it essential for organizations to prioritize and emphasize patching best practices. Buster recommends “agile patching,” which applies continuous project management principles and policies to an organization’s patching processes.
Global Knowledge also recommends that all IT people familiarize themselves with the most common threats and how to protect their data and assets. A good place to start? Introduction to Cybersecurity.
And if something does happen this year, read our blog “Hacked? How to Break the Bad News to the C-Suite” and learn how to talk with the executive team about the breach.
More cybersecurity government legislation is coming
Cyberattacks have increased in frequency and sophistication. As a result there’s been an increase in cybersecurity legislation and regulations. In 2017, at least 42 states introduced more than 240 bills or resolutions related to cybersecurity, compared to just 28 states in 2016.
In 2018, several of those legal actions will come to fruition.
Most notably, the implementation deadline for the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which was created to strengthen data protection for individuals in the EU, is May 25. At the end of 2017, a new bill was introduced in the U.S., the Active Cyber Defense Certainty Act, which would allow companies and individuals to “hack back” if their goal is to monitor or mitigate attacks. And just last week, the House of Representatives debated the Cyber Vulnerability Disclosure Reporting Act, which requires Homeland Security to report on software vulnerabilities and disclose them to their manufacturers.
“As threats grow, governments around the world have to prioritize, unify and standardize cyber defense,” Buster said.
Much of this legislation is in direct response to major cyberattacks from last year, such as the Equifax data breach. The smarter everyone gets about cybersecurity, the angrier everyone gets about attacks and the more regulation we’ll see.
Buster expects more legislation and compliance standards in countries and governing bodies around the world.
Enhance your GDPR knowledge
Specific to GDPR, Global Knowledge offers the IAPP curriculum which covers the principles of information privacy as well as data protection laws and best practices.
Recommended cybersecurity courses
Static networks move aside. Make way for software-defined networking (SDN).
Traditional network architectures are too rigid for today’s dynamic needs. Due to the explosion of mobile devices, server virtualization and cloud services, enterprises are migrating to next-generation architectures.
Software-defined networking (SDN) is gaining popularity because it makes networks more flexible and adaptable. While driving multiple technological innovations in 2018, Cisco’s SDN represents an evolution for enterprise networks. In fact, this advancement is a consolidation of innovations from Cisco over the past several years, coalescing into a larger trend—programmable networks.
SDN facilitates enhanced network management and enables programmable, efficient network configuration to improve performance and monitoring. SDN addresses the fact that the static architecture of traditional networks is decentralized and complex while current networks require more flexibility and easy troubleshooting.
Expect an explosion of interest in 2018 as Cisco is putting a lot of support behind this trend. Cisco is looking to utilize next generation network architectures to meet the increased demand for future infrastructure configurations that will be flexible, programmable and more cost efficient.
Cisco's two-pronged approach
In addressing the forthcoming rise of SDN, Cisco has developed a two-pronged approach:
- On the software side, Cisco Open Network Environment (Cisco ONE) is designed to address the challenges of WANs, data centers and campus networks. Cisco ONE allows direct programmability of the Cisco environment.
- On the hardware side, Cisco has recently introduced several products to support SDN:
- Cisco Digital Network Architecture (DNA) embeds security solutions into hardware and software by design, delivering security solutions that work together, starting at the network edge and extending to the core and WAN.
- Cisco Software-Defined Access (SD-Access) provides automated end-to-end segmentation to separate user, device and application traffic without redesigning the network.
- Cisco Software-Defined WAN (SD-WAN) provides a cloud-delivered overlay WAN architecture that enables digital and cloud transformation at enterprises.
- Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) is designed to provide scalability, manageability and reliability for SDN solutions.
SDN delivers speed and agility when deploying new applications and business services. Flexibility, policy, and programmability are the hallmarks of Cisco’s SDN solutions, with a platform capable of handling the most demanding networking needs of today and tomorrow.
Global Knowledge supports Cisco’s SDN initiative by offering a broad portfolio covering the full spectrum of Cisco SDN technologies.
Recommended networking course
IT Service Management
The rise of IoT puts added pressure on IT service management
The Internet of Things (IoT) isn’t just hype any more. It’s here and it’s expanding rapidly.
But you already know that—you probably already own one. (i.e. Amazon Echo, Nest Thermostat, Norton Core Secure Router)
According to a 2017 Gartner report, more than 20 billion IoT devices will be in use worldwide by 2020. These connected devices do not include smartphones, laptops, tablets or anything controlled by traditional IT departments.
This presents a huge opportunity—and puts serious pressure—on IT service management.
According to Barry Corless, Global Knowledge Global Product Director: “Service management is going to need to step up its game in areas like event management, predictive problem management and continual service improvement to take advantage of IoT sensors’ ability to predict when ‘stuff’ will break down and resolve it.”
IoT intensifies the demand for exceptional end-user experiences, reduced costs, around-the-clock availability (chat bot) and the prompt resolution of tickets. These demands require a greater emphasis on service management skills such as communication and collaboration.
Corless says that a mix of DevOps and ITIL best practices will ideally position an individual or organization to take advantage of the opportunities that IoT offers. Our new course, Adopting DevOps in an ITIL Environment, is designed for clients considering or in the early stages of adopting DevOps.
Recommended IT service management course
Leaders and organizations will change the way they think about agile project management
“Agile is nothing new,” says Dan Stober, Global Knowledge Global Portfolio Director. “But the increasing push for people, teams and organizations to become agile has required those organizations to do something they may not have done before: define what ‘agile’ actually means."
Stober points out that agile transformation can be messy for several reasons:
- Lack of true executive sponsorship
- Unrealistic expectations regarding difficulty of transformation or speed of cycle times
- Attempting to do too much too quickly
Training is only part of the agile implementation. A strive for true agility requires a shift in thinking. And neglecting change management isn’t an option.
“Increasingly, leaders are recognizing that their journey to agility requires structured change management and the most successful transformations incorporate a skilled agile coach to lead the way,” Stober says.
“An agile coach is someone who has experience with agile transformations and can coach individual teams, sponsors, product owners and operations teams to take full advantage of the benefits of an agile mindset.”
Global Knowledge has an agile portfolio of increasing depth that supports the demand for greater agility and the need for transformational leadership.
Artificial Intelligence will automate more administrative project management tasks
Artificial Intelligence automates day-to-day project management tasks such as resourcing, reporting, billing and scheduling, which are time-consuming, yet necessary processes. This gives project managers time back in their day to focus on supporting and leading their team instead of focusing a huge percentage of time on administrative tasks. To free up the mental energy of the entire project team, a shift to automation of these project management office tasks is underway and will multiply in 2018. While automation frees up time, it does not change the manual process of having a person to input the data.
As the results of AI grow and take shape over time, they will provide invaluable information that can improve performance.
“Solid, repeatable project management processes make this automation far easier to realize,” Corless said.
To better understand how AI gives back precious time to team members and PMs, a foundational understanding of project management is needed. Introducing project management in your organization can provide the change management needed to improve ultimate customer satisfaction and the skills to lead a team. Global Knowledge's project management portfolio has everything you need to ensure your team is operating at maximum efficiency.
Recommended project management courses