Top 10 NZ Business Predictions for 2014

With 2014 almost upon the ICT industry, Symantec has offered an indicator into what lies ahead for the New Zealand technology sector.

Providing industry insight during a media gathering in Auckland last week, the security solutions provider talked at length about a range of burning topics within IT, such as Big Data, Applications and the Internet of Things.

Offering a New Zealand specific outlook, here are Symantec’s Top 10 NZ Business Predictions for 2014:

• The Big Data Bang is here:

As social media and mobile devices proliferate, we’re in the midst of an information explosion. Every minute, we create, store and access complex data at an unprecedented scale; in fact 90 percent of the world’s data was created in the last two years.

Many companies project that their information will grow at an incredible 60 percent to 70 percent within one year. This free flow of data has created immense opportunities. But it’s also opened the doors to new risks.

As the Internet of Things, the cloud, real-time analytics and other technologies step out of our imaginations and into our lives, so too do a host of sophisticated threats that we must address, or risk progress.

• Closing the information management skills gap:

With real time analytics and big data being seen as a competitive advantage for companies, we can expect to see a skills deficit in these areas over 2014.

With Gartner predicting that by 2015, 25 percent of companies will have a CDO managing their digital goals, and McKinsey and Company’s annual global survey released in September, Bullish on Digital, showing 30 per cent already have a CDO on their executive team, it is clear that data related skills will be in high demand and companies that are desperate to hire people with these specialised skills, will pay premium dollars to plug the gaps.

The additional challenge for New Zealand is the international poaching of talent and making sure we can secure the best people for this job at the right place and location.

• Legislative and compliance issues take hold

Not only do companies need to stay ahead of the latest technology trends and events, but also legislative changes and compliance issues. Most governments are playing catch up with the law when it comes to the digital revolution.

In New Zealand, the government is expected to table a draft of new privacy legislation very soon. This new legislation, which will replace the 1993 Privacy Act, could include changes such as compulsory privacy breach notifications and the power of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner to audit and enforce compliance.

Also, as the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations progress, access to information and international patent legislation will remain an area of focus. Legislative and compliance issues are also reaching the consumer – individuals need to care about encryption and privacy law and what information is being used for this new frontier.

• Understanding Software-Defined Data Centres (SDDC):

The future data centre looks different from today’s. Heterogeneous and distributed data centres, information and workloads everywhere, shared resources, abstraction of hardware from software, delivery as hybrid clouds, and velocity of change. This new environment poses some new challenges – visibility, access control, aggregation of responsibility.

Future data centres need insights and real-time dynamics to mitigate risks. SDDC is another trend to watch as the software-defined infrastructure becomes tangible.

Many believe 2014 will be a year of education as customers come to understand the benefits of software-defined anything – compute, networking and storage – and overcome any challenges around trust and security.

• Internet of Things comes of age:

The Internet of Things is promising to drive productivity, improve business efficiency and spawn growth sectors in the coming decades and New Zealand businesses are starting to think about how they can make use of a world that is highly connected.

Wearable computing is also exploding as leaps and bounds are made in hardware, entire operating systems, graphics processors and security being baked into microprocessors. As usage models for the Internet of Things start to emerge so too will hackers try to infiltrate these systems.

• All things cybercrime and privacy related continue to be challenging:

Whether it is ransomware, mobile cybercrime, app scams, exploiting niche social networks, corporate espionage or the move from mass cyber threats to more sophisticated and targeted attacks, there is no doubt that cybercrime and privacy will continue to be problematic for consumers and enterprises – both large and small.

In 2014, people will finally begin taking active steps to keep their information private. Scammers, data collectors and cybercriminals will not ignore any social network, no matter how niche or obscure it is; the Internet of Things will become the Internet of Vulnerabilities and mobile apps will prove that you can like yourself too much.

• Enterprise app stores become the norm:

By 2014, there will be more than 70 billion mobile app downloads from app stores every year. As organisations embrace employees bringing their own applications to work to complete day to day tasks, by 2014, most organisations will deliver mobile apps to workers via private application stores.

In addition, we will see more enterprises focus on application wrapping where you can choose whatever app you want, but you need to give it to IT to wrap a security layer around it and this way you don’t need to generate the app, just secure and license it.

• Authentication goes mainstream:

How you prove you are you is exploding. In particular we expect to see an increase in the use of risk-based behavioural analysis and user profiling as a more frequent form of authentication in 2014 and the introduction of biometrics in the iPhone is only the tip of the iceberg.

However we’re not anticipating that biometrics will be mainstream for some time as it still has some challenges around storing biometric data and privacy. Multi-factor authentication will become the norm and passwords will no be longer the sole form of the authentication for users.

• Distributed data causes confusion and frustration amongst consumers:

As New Zealanders become multi-device consumers, keeping track of where their data resides will continue to cause them confusion and frustration.

As data is important than the device, consumers are struggling to manage their data across multiple devices and keep their information backed up so that it can be recovered if lost or stolen.

This fragmented approach to data retention is leaving consumers exposed to cybercriminals, confused about their privacy and frustrated about having to spend more time managing their data across multiple devices and platforms.

• 3D printing offers another vector for crime:

As 3D printing becomes more affordable and highly available, we expect that cybercriminals will look to exploit 3D printing for piracy. We anticipate blueprints of valuable designs will be a target for cybercriminals as 3D printing becomes more mainstream.

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