Contact Us Blog T. 212.792.5200


Blog - Netfast

Home    >    Resources    >    Blog

Looking into the Crystal Ball | Our Predictions for 2016 IT Trends

Date posted: 14th December 2015

We have spent the past few weeks analyzing the history and more recent trends of IT. Our specific focus is to help IT leaders ride the 3rd platform wave –becoming a disruptive business growth engine rather than the road-block stopping progress.

It doesn’t seem like December (still quite warm here in New York City) however the end of the year and holiday season has arrived. So now let’s take a look at the year ahead with Netfast IT Business Review’s Predictions for 2016 IT Trends.

Spoiler Alert for tl;dr: The Traditional IT stakeholders of yesteryear whether it be Old-Guard OEMs (OGOs), Value-Added Resellers (VARs) or Stubborn IT Leaders (SILs) are in critical danger

Top 10 Predictions for 2016 Information Technology

Digital Transformation and the Cloud will continue to erode the influence and may spell doom for prior mentioned OGOs and SILs

We’ve analyzed previously how the high levels of automation, ease of use and self-service present in cloud platforms/applications has allowed departments such as Marketing and Finance to erode IT’s former authority on budget decisions.

However we need to reiterate the time is now!! Literally  — NOW RIGHT NOW — “Learn to swim before the cloud washes you away” because 2016 is the year the tsunami is coming.

Our first 2016 trend is dramatic acceleration in Digital Transformation and Cloud Migration becoming key cornerstones of C-level corporate strategy. The discussion around these trends has moved beyond IT circles and now into the corporate boardroom with recent proclamations from major companies including our massive neighbor on the East Side – Citigroup, Inc.  Digital businesses are seeing improved agility, customer alignment and delivery speed by fully embracing the shift.

For IT leaders to remain relevant in this new world they will need to shift themselves from “master of the infrastructure” to a “just-in-time” service provider to all levels of the organization.

Within the next 4 years it is predicted that over 50% of tech spending will be tied into Digital Transformation and Cloud Technologies. Unless you as an IT leader embrace the change; over half your current budget is going to be controlled by the “business units”. And do you really want Marketing controlling tech budget and making associated decisions? No, I can assure you do not want that.

So ride the wave and embrace Digital Transformation and Cloud by delivering “just-in-time” IT services….

We’ll all be hacked

If we did this same list at the end of 2014 going into ’15 Cyber Security threat vectors would have been mentioned as a top trend. In fact probably the same if we did this ’13 into ’14. However short of the major shift to Digital Business and Just-in-Time delivery; Cyber Security is and should remain top of mind for all organizations.

Chances are your personal data was leaked sometime this year…and chances are if you are mid-sized or large company your business data was compromised.

That is the pessimistic view….

The optimistic view is properly implemented “current” Cyber Security Strategy is still capable of detecting many threats….

Let’s take a look at some threats, and potential mitigation:

  • Shift to cloud and web applications is opening up a layer beyond the reach of “traditional firewall”
    • Traditional Network Firewall is limited to the network port level. Web Application Firewalls (WAF) currently growing but not yet standard becomes beneficial by adding visibility into the layer where most attacks occur – the application layer. By looking only at the port network firewall is not able to detect cookie, session, or parameter tampering attacks. They cannot stop fraudulent devices or business logic attacks.
    • DDOS, SQL injection and Cross-Site Scripting attacks all occur when IT leaders remain comfortable with their traditional network firewall.
    • It is highly recommend to implement Web Application Firewalls or Next Generation Firewalls such as those offered by Imperva or Palo Alto Networks in order to protect from this threat vector.
  • Employees daily activities are opening to the door to Malvertising
    • Employees and internal (non-malicious) access cause close to 80% of “attacks”. One high danger but low knowledge threat is the threat of “Malvertising”
    • What is Malvertising?
      1. When your employees are performing their daily activities through the web they visit web sites. These sites are pulled into the browser(aka into your environment) upon request.
      2. However it’s not only the site that is loading. Other 3rd party content from ad networks and exchanges come along with the website. This threat vector commonly known as malvertising allows hackers and nefarious parties to drop malware, spyware, unwanted download or trackers onto your systems allowing for major exposure
    • It is highly recommended to use ad and privacy blockers (such as those offered by Ghostery) in order to protect from this threat vector.
  • Mobile and Internet of Things (IoT)
    • Mobile device management (MDM) and Internet of Things (IoT) should be on all Cyber Security and IT leaders’ radar in 2016. As usage and BYOD moves closer to “universal” IT must remain on the lookout for new entry points within the expanded device range.

You’ve been hacked…Cyber Insurance Will Become a Thing

Today Cyber Insurance makes up only a small piece of the trillion dollar macro insurance market. However the growth is becoming real and we predict 2016 will become the year that Cyber Insurance takes mainstream hold.

The protections discussed above will stop many breaches (even though no security is 100%) so Cyber Insurance as part of a comprehensive package gives C-Level executives the ability to control and balance the cost of the breaches that happen beyond the protection investment.

SMBs are not safe

It’s not just enterprise well-known businesses being targets. 74% of SMBs experienced a breach within the past year and that number is expected to increase in 2016 and the perception of easy targets becomes mainstream.

Threats such as Ransomware, Social Engineering, and Customer Data Breaches and associated legislation will become business critical threats for SMBs going into the New Year. Major breaches such as those experienced by banks, the government and big-box retailers make front page news and cost millions and billions in lost business. Breaches on SMBs don’t get reported as much for a very harsh reason…the company usually disappears.

Strategy and insurance…you need it as an SMB too.

A major Old-Guard OEM (OGO) will collapse

Moving slightly away from Cyber Security our next prediction involves the old-guard OEMs of IT (the OGOs). We’ve discussed how Digital Transformation, Cloud Adoption and Cyber Security remain top of mind concerns. But you may wonder if those are the top concerns why are so many giants companies focused on traditional infrastructure and perimeter instead of application level security?

Based on this fact it’s not necessarily a bold prediction to call for the death of a major IT giant in the coming year. Which company is of course an open variable. There’s the obvious such as Yahoo probable last days (yes Yahoo’s a tech company) but could a major security breach or disruption from cloud and digital transformation take down one of the infrastructure giants?

I mean after all the Seattle Bookstore washed away the Human Network?

We’ll just have to wait and see….

Amazon will spin off Amazon Web Services (AWS)

We’re going against most financial analysts and calling on Amazon getting enough shareholder pressure to spin off the cloud juggernaut – Amazon Web Services.

Shouldn’t be too shocking if you’ve been reading this far but considering that Amazon’s Cloud Service – AWS has now surpassed the retail business we think 2016 will be the year they break the business up and deliver the long-awaited shareholder profit. Valued at over $125 billion that would only increase away from its retail overload the Amazon Web Services business would create an attractive return for investors as a standalone profitable entity

Because after all it wasn’t really the bookstore that washed anyone away…

The internet banner ad will die

This is a long time coming for most. We predict 2016 will finally be the time to kill the banner ad for good. Advertiser fraud and poor ROI along with previously mentioned Malvertising threats, and consumers’ overall taste for intrusive, useless content will give way to alternative monetization such as data mining, native advertising and good old subscriptions.

Honestly the banner ad disappearing is a race to the bottom at this point with the only question left is which will happen first a) will advertisers realize they are getting ripped off? OR 2) will consumers realize their PCs are infected with useless and potentially dangerous code running in secret on every web page they visit.

As part of the shift to “Digital Transformation” ad-supported companies are going to need to align IT and business to ensure survival using new generation monetization including channels mentioned above…

Ad-Tech killed itself with aggressive ad placements…now disruptive innovation will take web monetization to the next level…

The first “self-driving car will hit consumer adoption

Digital will take over all including your car. California is expected to draft the first set of consumer rules for “self-driving” cars in 2016 which can open the door to the first version of the GM or Google autonomous car on the road.

We predict the first consumer ready self-driving car to hit the roads in Silicon Valley in 2016. We also hope they come to New York City soon after!

<Editorial> Our roads need self-driving now in Manhattan!</editorial> 

Talent shortages will continue to stunt growth

Today in 2015 – 90% of executives are reporting struggles to recruit and retain qualified tech talent.  This problem is only expected to grow in the coming years with a projected shortfall of 1 million technical professionals of 2020.

As outlined above Digital Transformation and Cloud Application adoption along with Cyber Security will become massive concerns among enterprise and mid-sized businesses. However this talent shortage and faster acceleration of changing needs stands the chance to not only stunt growth of individual businesses but the macro United States economy.

Immigration reform, improved affordability of education along with private and public company training programs are all key to closing the gap; however no macro plans appear to be on the horizon so we predict 2016 to be another year of increasing talent shortages…

Amazon won the cloud war…who wins the IoT war?

In 2015 Amazon Web Services killed the HP public cloud and set off a major IT Tsunami. As the Internet of Things’ (IoT) potential moves mainstream we expect to see a parallel war involving several major companies to become the AWS of IoT.

This war will result in the rise of the IoT centralized Platform-as-a-Service with a battle playing out across the consumer and enterprise segments. Of course the usual suspects are expected to come to the forefront including Apple, Google and Microsoft however if we know anything about the history of IT, it’s much more likely a disruptive innovator will come out of the weeds to create the next major tsunami of IT and wash away even more OGOs of yesteryear.

That company could of course also be Amazon Web Services again who announced IoT support during their re:Invent conference but we believe a smaller more nimble firm will rise to take the cake in 2016 and beyond.

Keep an eye on firms such as MuleSoft, Switchmate, Jasper and Ingenu for IoT disruption and/or acquisition in the year to come.


For those of you heading out for the holiday break; have a great Holiday season and Happy New Year.