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Thursday, August 18, 2016

3 technological trends IT workers need to know well

Perhaps the best and worst part about technology is how quickly it changes. Rapidly developing machines and programs means more productivity and efficiency, but it also means that skills very quickly become outdated. Working in IT demands constantly being aware of ever-changing landscape of all things digital, but keeping up with it all can be extremely difficult. 

That said, it's imperative that IT employees ensure their company's success through diligent study of the most recent technological shifts. To that end, let's take a look at some of the biggest trends affecting enterprise IT, as well as how they might affect your organization.

1. BYOD

The bring-your-own-device trend was a revolutionary change in how both workers and employers viewed technology in the office. For the longest time, employees were given everything they needed in order to complete the tasks given to them. However, as time went on, advanced devices began to wiggle their way into every home in America. A vast majority of the workforce now own a laptop or a smartphone – often both – and this created an incredible opportunity for companies. Organizations could simply ask workers to use their own gadgets to do their duties. 

The reason this is so revolutionary is that a BYOD policy can seriously decrease what a company needs to spend on hardware. People love using their own devices, and their familiarity with the gadgets they bought themselves allows them to feel more comfortable with how they complete work, thereby increasing productivity. In fact, this idea is doing so well that Global Market Insights predicted the market to hit nearly $367 billion by 2022

That said, BYOD isn't perfect. In fact, IT workers need to be aware of the security risks these kinds of policies create. Basically, the main problem here boils down to the fact that people very often don't execute good judgment when it comes to basic cybersecurity practices. Something as simple as an employee not using a password for their laptop could end in disaster. If that device were to contain company information and were then left on a bus or simply stolen from the worker's house, the organization could lose control over valuable data. 

Basically, the only way to mitigate these problems is to educate workers as to what's expected of them. A BYOD policy can have a tremendously beneficial effect on a company, but only if it's rolled out properly. Employees need to know that their devices should have basic security features such as complex password protection, and they should also realize the danger of using these gadgets to surf sketchy websites or click on links from unknown email addresses. 

BYOD is a big trend. Personally-owned devices have a place in the office.

2. The Internet of Things

As the equipment necessary to access the internet continues to cheapen, more and more devices are being given the ability to connect to the online world. This trend has been called the Internet of Things, and its impact is going to be huge. According to Gartner, there will be just under 21 billion IoT gadgets online by 2020

The possibilities here for businesses are endless. One of the most useful in terms of efficiency has to be the smart thermostat, which can learn the temperature habits of your office and save a company money on its energy bill. However, this is only the beginning. This trend is still in its early stages, and there's no telling where it could go. 

"Much like BYOD, there is a big security concern here."

However, much like BYOD, there is a big security concern here. A smart thermostat learning when the last employee leaves is great for the budget and the environment, but it could also help a hacker know when everyone is out of the office. What's more, a lot of these connected devices have a huge issue in the form of passwords. People very rarely change the default credentials on these gadgets, which gives a cybercriminal an easy way in. 

3. Cloud computing

The cloud isn't coming or developing: it's here. This service allows companies to utilize an internet connection to store and analyze information in data centers that are physically separated from the organization's facility. These kinds of processes used to be done on in-house servers, which cost a lot of money to buy and maintain. Therefore, one of the biggest benefits of a cloud-based solution is more efficient use of budgetary spending. 

However, when it comes to the cloud, there are three options to go with here:

  • Public cloud: This is basically where resources are shared between multiple companies in a effort to increase efficiency. The savings here are passed on to the customer, making this the cheaper cloud option. However, there is a catch in the form of security. Due to the fact that the information of multiple organizations is kept in a singular location, certain people believe the public cloud to have some safety concerns. 
  • Private cloud: The private cloud avoids these security issues by giving an entire cloud deployment to a single company. While this certainly gives the business more control over their assets, it's also generally a lot more expensive than the public cloud. 
  • Hybrid cloud: As the name suggests, this is a combination of both a public and a private cloud deployment. This is great because while enterprises often have a need to ensure the safety of some of their data, other pieces of information aren't as private. This allows for a cost savings while also ensuring security. 

Keeping informed is the key to ensuring you and your company stays ahead of the curve. Technology may be changing all the time, but that doesn't mean you have to fall behind. 

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