Emerging Technology (Enhancing, Engaging, Connecting)
What to Watch in IT
- By David W. Dodd
- June 1st, 2016
Technology trends and predictions are abundant, but a
smaller number represent thoughtful
analysis. Here are five trends likely to represent
substantial changes for our institutions
in 2016 and beyond.
Software-Defined, Adaptive Security
major security breaches have made it clear that traditional
methods of protecting information assets are no longer effective
in preventing advanced attacks. Many networking and security
companies, as well as industry analysts (including Gartner), are
pushing an emerging generation of security measures that are not
based primarily on physical devices. Rather, the new architecture
is software-based and can be deployed rapidly and updated in
seconds based on developing threats.
Another aspect of the emerging architectures is that they are
adaptive, monitoring the environment and learning from it, so that
suspected anomalies can be identified and responded to faster.
These new systems utilize machine intelligence to identify behaviors
that do not align with those that are predicted, so that rapid alert
and interdiction can occur without human intervention.
A related development involves the sharing of threat data in real
time across organizations in the public and private sectors. The new
machine-learning cybersecurity systems are being linked into global
networks, creating a much stronger force for good.
The Cloud Is the New Normal
The cloud has evolved
technologically, commercially and in acceptance. Fears over security
have largely proven unfounded, particularly when compared to
breaches in traditional, premise-based systems.
The cloud has become the new normal. IDC recently predicted that
by 2018, half of IT spending will be spent on cloud-based systems and
services. For higher education, moving systems to cloud-based services
will mean three things: more rapid deployment, lower deployment
costs and realignment in technology spending from CapEx to OpEx. In
the end, however, selecting an effective and high-value cloud provider
will translate to technologies that are consistently more up-do-date, as
well as more cost effective in terms of total cost of ownership (TCO).
Windows 10 (Microsoft is Back)
No, Windows 10 hasn’t seen a tsunami of adoption yet. But as companies and
consumers evaluate other options, staying with Windows will likely
prove favorable. This also means that Active Directory, Exchange,
SharePoint and other backend products will likely expand.
In Windows 10, Microsoft is also getting closer to a viable
cross-platform OS. I use an Android smartphone and tablet; my
wife a Windows PC and iPad. For anything beyond Amazon or
Audible, information sharing devolves to the lowest common
denominator of email. In 2016, that’s a pathetic reality. While
standardizing on a single OS across all devices causes me some
concern, the concern pales in comparison to the problems of playing
“Where’s Waldo?” with my information and digital media.
If Microsoft elevates its game with regard a cross-platform OS
and integration with its OneDrive cloud strategy, then Windows 10
will likely move beyond an operational development and represent
a differentiator and competitive advantage over commodity cloud
services such as Google and Amazon.
Next-Generation Administrative Systems
student, financial, human resource and similar systems have been
around and evolving for years, though I would argue painfully
slowly. New generation systems like Workday are beginning to
appear that do not represent slow evolutionary change based
on previous increments, but rather sudden quantum leaps over
competitors. I suspect we will see more of this soon, which will
substantially change the landscape for administrative systems in
higher education — and in very positive ways.
Sensors Everywhere (and Producing Mountains
The Internet of Things (IoT) is getting enormous buzz,
but some of that is deserved. Essentially, the IoT means processors,
chips and sensors are showing up in every part of our daily lives,
and are connected together on the Internet. Most importantly, they
are producing mountains of data that are being mined to track and
predict our every action and decision. This is a commercial coup, but
may also represent a troubling intrusion and loss of privacy.
It is predicted that by 2018 there may be 22 billion IoT devices.
For higher education, students have long been a tremendous population
of highly desired consumers. There is little doubt that the
IoT will require significant thought concerning ethical questions,
commercial ventures and policy development.
This article originally appeared in the June 2016 issue of College Planning & Management.
David W. Dodd is vice president of Information Technology and CIO at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ. He can be reached at 201/216-5491 or firstname.lastname@example.org.