By James A. Martin

Having safeguards to protect against natural and cyber disasters, and bouncing back swiftly from them, are key to being a resilient organisation. But resilience isn’t just about protecting against threats. It’s about the ability to swiftly, successfully adapt to short- and long-term change.

Within that context, a resilience-savvy organisation remains a step ahead of the technological curve by wisely deploying new technologies as needed to enhance not just resilience but also business operations, customer experiences, and competitive agility. With that in mind, Sungard AS thought leaders share their insights into five technologies that can help your organisation adapt to change—and thrive.

1. Cloud-based storage

As more organisations undertake digital transformations, and with the explosive growth in data from artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, the need for cloud-based storage has skyrocketed. organisations’ data storage needs grew on average by up to 99TB from 2016 to 2018 and are expected to increase by similar amounts in the next two years, according to InformationWeek.

Cloud storage is a broad term that covers many products, services and variations, says Bob Peterson, CTO Architect. In the Amazon Web Services (AWS) space, for example, storage options include S3, Glacier, Elastic File System, Elastic Block Store, and managed database services such as Aurora, DynamoDB and Relational Database Service. Each has its own data protection and management solutions that enterprises must understand how to deploy and manage properly.

Cloud storage managed services can be less expensive than self-managed solutions, Peterson says. Their biggest benefit is near-real-time provisioning and easy availability of increased storage capacities. On the down side, an enterprise’s data can become decentralised and harder to track. Plus, you’ll need to understand how to properly protect the data stored with these services. “For example, AWS S3 provides an excellent, scalable and durable storage solution, but many companies have had high-profile and costly data exposures due to simple misconfigurations of the service.”

The cloud also provides a less-expensive, more-flexible approach to archiving data, which is required for compliance and regulatory reasons, notes Joseph George, Vice President of Product Management, Global Recovery Services. “One of the approaches we’re seeing is where organisations keep short-term data locally at their site to enable faster restore in the event of recovery, with longer-term data and archives stored in the cloud,” he says.

2. DRaaS

The Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) market is expected to grow by a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of nearly 36 percent by 2022, according to market research firm Technavio. The growth is a result of many enterprises recognising the cost of downtime and data loss and implementing newer technologies such as DRaaS to replicate and restore data, says George.

“DRaaS technologies and services are available today at a price point that’s much more affordable than even two or three years ago,” George says. “This really helps enterprises protect themselves better. The negatives are that sometimes an organisation can become complacent and expect the technology to solve everything, ignoring the people, process and governance aspects of successful data protection and application recovery.”

3. IoT and edge computing

The IoT revolution will continue, with IoT spending expected to achieve a CAGR of 13.6 percent between 2017 and 2022, according to IDC. “IoT will continue to change how business operates,” predicts Mitch Kavalsky, Director, Security Governance and Risk.

For example, more businesses are beginning to rely upon equipment such as elevators and HVAC systems made “smart” by IoT sensors, along with increasing use of consumer technologies such as smart speakers and smart TVs in offices. Along with its many possibilities, IoT will continue to pose security concerns for businesses, too.

With IoT devices, expect to see more businesses relying on edge computing, adds Kaushik Ray, SVP, Global Client Service Management. Edge computing enables data produced by IoT devices to be processed closer to where the data is created, instead of transmitting it across long distances to data centres or clouds, as Network World explains. By 2025, about 75 percent of enterprise data will be created and processed beyond traditional data centres and clouds, up from roughly 10 percent today, according to research firm Gartner.

“Edge computing will become even more important, as data coming from IoT sensors needs to be analysed immediately to drive decisions or actions within nanoseconds or milliseconds,” says Ray. “The perfect use case of this is driverless cars, with hundreds of sensors that require edge computing to enable the cars’ intelligence to make immediate decisions on how to react to a particular situation.”

Other edge computing use cases include industrial automation, video monitoring, predictive maintenance, and augmented reality/virtual reality.

4. Artificial intelligence and machine learning

AI and ML will also play a greater role in how businesses operate and the problems they attempt to solve. According to IDC, the market for AI solutions will experience a CAGR of 46.2 percent through 2021. And by 2024, about 33 percent of today’s screen-based apps will be replaced by AI-enabled user software interfaces and process automation, IDC predicts.

AI and ML offer unprecedented opportunities for solving business problems, but their greater potential is still a year or more away, says Janine Benoit, Marketing Manager. “In 2020 and beyond, new cloud applications will include the use of AI, ML and analytics services, driving increasing intelligence down to mainstream business users.”

5. Multi-cloud environments

Many organisations today leverage a combination of public, private and SaaS-based cloud environments, and IT cloud strategies will grow and continue to be mainstream in 2019, says Benoit, with multi-cloud and hybrid environments the new reality.

In particular, we’ll see an increased confidence in private cloud providers and services, which will further accelerate private cloud adoption and spending, Benoit predicts. For example, Forrester estimates a 22 percent CAGR in the public cloud market through 2020.

Meanwhile, more businesses will transition away from on-premise servers and applications. “The complexity of IT environments will continue to increase, and businesses will need help from managed service providers to help them on their journey,” Benoit says.

Investing in the future

Not every company will need all of these technologies, of course. The key is to be flexible and adaptable to change, to keep an open mind about what new and evolving technologies might do to help your business, and then invest wisely.

“Savvy organisations that are resilient in the sense of being able to adapt easily will invest in these technologies to get closer to their customers and exponentially grow their business,” Ray says. 

James A. Martin has written about security and other technology topics for CIO, CSO, Computerworld, PC World, and others.

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