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What to watch out for in 2017: Top IT Themes

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it-trends-for-2017No one can deny the pace of change within the world of technology. As we embark on a new year, how will your business face the IT challenges ahead? Strong performing IT is a key contributor to business productivity, efficiency and ultimately competitive advantage.

To get the most out of your IT for the year ahead, we’ve prepared a list of the top challenges and trends we see facing the IT industry in 2017.

1. Security

This was a subject discussed at length in 2016 but one that will not go away in 2017. Keeping up with the evolving security landscape will remain the key challenge for IT professionals. As cyber-attacks become increasingly sophisticated, social engineering and whaling attacks will rise. Over 91% of cyber-attacks are initiated through email, so investing in good email protection is invaluable. We recommend the award-winning Mimecast Email Security solution for enhanced email protection.

Equally important is ensuring your network is secure, establishing strong passwords, installing patch updates, updating software, taking regular back-ups and educating users. For more information on how to secure your systems, read our IT Good Practice: Security Checklist.

2. Ransomware

2016 saw a staggering 400% spike in the number of ransomware families, and evidence suggests a further 25% growth in 2017. Although the rate of growth will plateau, attack methods and targets will diversify to hit more victims and platforms, including mobile devices. As such, ransomware is expected to become an increasingly commonplace component of data breaches.

Whilst 100% protection does not exist, blocking these threats at source is best through web and email gateway solutions. Staying aware of the latest ransomware attacks, such as Fantom which mimmicks the Windows Update process, is also important to enable you to remain vigilant.

For a simple guide on how to protect your business, read our Top 10 Tips to Protect against Ransomware.

3. End of support for Microsoft

2017 will mark the end of extended support dates for products such as Windows Vista, Microsoft Office 2007, Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 and Pegasus Opera 2. Running unsupported software not only creates security risks for your organisation, it violates many regulatory and compliance standards. Managing systems reaching end of life is vital and whilst some businesses will simply re-invest in new technology, others are choosing the ‘as-a-service’ model to reduce the cost and complexity of managing their IT systems.

4. System compatibility

Following on from the point above, we’re increasingly finding that customers using old technology experience compatibility issues when upgrading an aspect of their IT.

For example, a company operating an older Exchange Server and requiring a new PC with Windows 10 and the latest Office suite may experience the subsequent scenario. The computers running new versions of software will struggle to talk to the Exchange Server, so migrating their email to Office 365 is considered. Whilst seemingly a practical solution, it reveals another problem whereby older PCs are incompatible with Office 365. The company finds themselves stuck and requiring a complete overhaul of their IT system, highlighting the importance of remaining on supported platforms.

5. Cloud computing

Providing greater availability, flexibility, scalability, security and reduced costs, cloud computing has been a buzz word for a number of years. 2017 will see the continued growth of cloud adoption as businesses increasingly migrate their email to the cloud, run critical apps in the cloud and leverage their data in the cloud.

Serverless architectures will also become more popular as businesses forego the cost of provisioning and maintaining in-house servers, instead choosing to run their applications on cloud servers.

6. Managing data

As businesses use an increasing number of applications and collate growing volumes of data, ensuring integration between these systems will become increasingly complex. Ensuring your applications work well together and that you can turn data into meaningful management information is paramount. We recommend Scribe Software to help create custom integrations across your applications.

7. Dynamics 365

2017 will be an exciting year for Microsoft Dynamics 365, particularly with the rise of Dynamics 365 for Financials, a cloud offering for small and mid-sized businesses. Whilst the commercial structure of Dynamics 365 was revealed in 2016, more information in terms of technical functionality is expected this year. Microsoft have made some exciting promises and the rebranded Dynamics 365 is expected to offer superior integration between all 365 apps. Watch this space!

The year ahead promises to be an exciting and challenging one for the IT industry. We’ve highlighted some of the main issues facing businesses but if you’d like to add any others, we’d love to hear from you.


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