Mid-way through the last month of the year means it’s time for everyone to release their predictions for IT in the coming year. This year is no different, and given recent headlines about Russian hacking and ransomware designed to let you opt to infect others you know rather than pay up, we’re going to talk about network and security trends.

Malware goes Mobile

Speaking of malware, let’s start there. Most experts see no end in sight, but predict a shift into mobile. With most enterprises allowing mobile devices on the internal Wi-Fi networks, these pocket-sized potential Petri dishes for viruses and the like could be just as infectious as desktops on the network. It’s a big deal. Earlier this year, the Ponemom Institute released a study showing that mobile data breaches could cost upwards of $26 million. Don’t forget that the increasing bandwidth available to mobile platforms over 4G and 5G services makes an attractive launching point for DDoS attacks.

IoT continues to grow, cause more issues

Pick your own ginormous number, and likely someone has predicted more IoT devices than that deployed in the next two to twenty years.  As experts move beyond guessing at device counts, the latest fun pastime is hand waving about how poorly IoT systems are configured for security. It’s no secret; many devices do lack basic security, and are frighteningly finding their way into enterprise networks in greater numbers. Oh yeah, they are great for DDoS attacks too.

SDN makes progress

Gartner’s famed Hype Cycle tracks technology visibility over time, from its first appearance rising to a peak of expectations, down through the realities of the Trough of Disillusionment up the slope of enlightenment and onto the plateau of productivity. After initial excitement of the imminent deployment of software defined networking, SDN has been doing time in the Trough of Disillusionment. Many experts expect 2017 to see enterprises begin to interact through their MPLS WAN vendors with SD-WAN technologies and hybrid-WANs. It’s an incremental process – “enlightenment” doesn’t come easy…

IPv6 traffic slow, but continues steady increases

Looking at Google’s IPv6 statistics page shows nearly linear growth since January of 2015. The most active implementers of IPv6 have been internet and broadband service providers and mobile operators. You are more likely to have IPv6 running on your mobile device and at home than you are in the office. In 2017, predictions for IT networks include expanded incremental adoption of IPv6, just not a sudden network-wide adoption.

How much do you trust predictions for IT?

It doesn’t take much to realize that when it comes to IT, predictions can be a fool’s errand. Disruptive technologies emerge suddenly, quick response is needed for changing threats, and to the contrary, best-bets slow role out across the network interminably. Still, making predictions for the coming year is easier than evaluating the predictions you made last year. Kind of like those 2016 New Year’s resolutions you forgot before Valentine’s Day…