2017 has been a year dominated by the lasting effects of multiple ransomware attacks, including WannaCry and NotPetya, and the growing fears within businesses about the security of their most sensitive and critical data. These have brought to light a few very important lessons that businesses must consider for next year, or else risk being the victim of increasingly worse attacks. Add to this the looming deadline of GDPR in May, and 2018 is beginning to look like its main focus will be keeping data secure and private. Leading IT experts give their thoughts on what they believe 2018 will bring in the IT security sphere, from IoT to ransomware to data management

Ken Hosac, VP IoT Strategy & Business Development at Cradlepoint:

"2018 will see organisations being smarter about how they secure their IoT devices. Global surveys show increasing enterprise IoT adoption, but with the spread of vicious botnets such as Reaper and Mirai, businesses know that deploying IoT devices on an existing network is dangerous. It creates cross-contamination, expands the attack surface and exposes corporate networks to new vulnerabilities. This is a serious threat that will need to be mitigated in 2018. One way of addressing the issue is by deploying Software-defined Perimeter technology. This enables businesses to control access and isolate IoT devices from each other. Significantly, it means existing networks can be shielded from potential attackers. In 2018, we will see more organisations addressing IoT security issues with Software-defined Perimeter technology, supporting the continued development of the global IoT ecosystem.”

Mat Clothier, CEO, CTO and Founder at Cloudhouse:

“In 2017 we saw ransomware attacks cause havoc across the board, and this doesn’t look like a trend that will phase out. If anything, attacks will become more sophisticated in 2018, with the perpetrators continually looking to infect high-profile organisations and bodies. Many will be looking to shore up defences to protect against these threats, but with some of the most high-profile names out there still using unpatched legacy operating systems such as Windows XP, this isn’t easy – in fact, it is impossible. Attacks can easily breach outdated defences and bring critical systems to a standstill, exactly like we saw with the WannaCry attacks. With more and more operating systems reaching their end of life in the near future - such as Windows 7 in 2020 - we hope that the next year will see businesses investing in ways to keep their legacy apps still functioning, but in a safe environment - not one built for a bygone era.”

Nigel Williams, Senior Director Marketing at Commvault:

“As businesses have a ravenous appetite for insight and are compelled by GDPR to manage the privacy of personal data, along with the rising tide of cyber-attacks, 2018 will see organisations start to accelerate the development of data management and data science competencies to support growth and transformation strategies. It will also be the year when the majority of IT staff come to the realisation that solving business problems via machine learning and data, rather than coding logic in software, is the best route to solving the toughest business problems.”

In addition, some thought-leaders advise that the cloud can either help or hinder organisations’ efforts to improve their strategy in the coming year:

Aad Dekkers, Marketing Director EMEA at Scale Computing:

“Throughout 2017 we have seen many organisations focus on implementing a 100% cloud-focused model. There has been a huge debate around on-premises and cloud, especially when it comes to security, performance and availability, with arguments both for and against. But the reality is that the pendulum stops somewhere in the middle. In 2018, innovative organisations will start to take advantage of hybrid cloud, bringing data centres to the edge.”

And while the consensus seems that a multi-cloud approach is the key to IT success in 2018, another expert warns that businesses may need some help along the way:

Andrius Ulenskas, Technical Director, Hyve Managed Hosting:

“2018 is going to be a year of cloud consolidation. People who host on premises will move to the cloud. Those who are using the cloud already, will realise that managing it is more expensive and difficult than they thought. They’ll opt to move to a managed solution. Sadly, I think a lot of Sysadmin roles will go during these changes

To find out more about GDPR check out the next GDPR Summit London