Article

AHEAD’s 2018 Year in Tech Review

Without a doubt, 2018 was a game-changing year for enterprise technology across the board. From IBM’s jaw-dropping acquisition of Red Hat to cybersecurity breaches dominating headlines left-and-right, 2018 was chock-full of tech surprises—both good and bad.

In order to move forward, you must look back, so I sat down with AHEAD gurus across cloud, cybersecurity, and enterprise monitoring and analytics (EMA), to get their thoughts on what was a breakthrough year in enterprise IT:


Cloud


Eric Shanks,
Cloud Solutions Principal

“There were a few surprises in 2018, including the acquisition of Red Hat by IBM for $33 billion, along with Microsoft buying GitHub for $7.5 billion. The world also started to take more notice of data privacy issues after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified in front of Congress in April about the companies practice of selling user data to third-parties. Unfortunately, I think the latter will be a trend we’ll continue to see in 2019.”


Cooper Lutz,
Cloud Services Engineer

“A huge breakthrough for cloud in 2018 was the increased interest and valuable use cases that emerged for the healthcare industry utilizing the public cloud. Azure’s data and analytics tool suite gained a ton of traction as trust in the cloud increased among healthcare IT.

I was also surprised at the amount of interest and acceleration in the HashiCorp toolset, Terraform in particular. At AHEAD, we’re huge fans of HashiCorp for managing Infrastructure as Code (IaC) and using Terraform to support a multi-cloud approach. HashiCorp definitely emerged as a powerful, third-party player in the cloud space, so I’m excited to see what they’ve got in store for 2019.”


Ben Prescott, Cloud Delivery Manager

“While perhaps not surprising, the most interesting development in 2018 was the release of Azure Stack that went GA in the first quarter. This opened up some doors for organizations that didn’t have the right use case for public cloud, but wanted to take advantage of public cloud services by using them in their on-prem data centers. Whether it was healthcare, financial services or government, you saw a huge surge in adoption since those organizations didn’t need to worry about data sovereignty, compliance or the location where the data lived.

Azure Stack addressed a gap in the market that all of these highly secure and compliance-focused industries needed without stripping away the value that cloud provides. There was a lot of discussion about extending the data center to the cloud and keeping an on-prem operations model, but still having the ability to leverage and extend to public cloud in the future for those not ready to make the jump.”


Cybersecurity


Michael Condes, Security Practice Director

“The one thing that surprised me in 2018 was the fact that we haven’t seen more legislation and more reaction by our leadership in government to enact additional mandatory controls or punishment for those that are accountable for security breaches. I thought after Equifax that we would’ve seen progress by now, especially given the nature and size of the breach in 2017.

What also still surprises me in 2018 is that we’re still finding organizations that haven’t recognized how important security or taking more aggressive action. It seems lackadaisical in the speed at which they’re addressing basic gaps in their design and defense strategies. While budget is a starting point for that, they just need to start taking more action and stop taking a ‘it won’t happen to me’ approach—because it inevitably will as we saw this past year.”


Steven Aiello, Security Solutions Principal

“I think this is the first year that we’ve seen such a proliferation and identification of hardware vulnerability, particularly with Meltdown and Spectre-type attacks. For example, there were a significant amount of Bluetooth vulnerabilities, which are very serious because it’s hardware or firmware that needs to be updated—not just a simple software patch. We saw the potential of having to completely replace physical devices, a problem we’ve never experienced before. Unfortunately, I think we’ll continue to see that into 2019. When you think about every single smartphone on the face of the planet—they all have Bluetooth. This is extremely problematic since every phone is potentially vulnerable to attack solely because of a flaw in its Bluetooth software.”


Joe Rajca,
Security Specialist Engineer

“One thing I found surprising about 2018 was how prevalent shadow IT in the cloud still is and how none of it is ever properly secured—and that’s a huge deal for a lot of companies. They have private company data up in the cloud, and individuals and small groups in the company have decided to create their own cloud instances outside of the guidance from security within the company. These are employees who aren’t security-focused, so it just never gets done. They’re not leveraging resources to properly do it, so there’s a lot of risk, especially with intellectual property stored there.”


Chris Krieger, Security Solutions Architect

“The biggest surprise of 2018 was the lack of movement here in the United States on consumer protections. After the Equifax breach last year, I was expecting stiff punishments, fines and negative repercussions. Instead, almost nothing happened, which won’t encourage organizations to do the right thing. If you’re not going to be punished for a breach—and there’s barely a blip in your stock price—you won’t want to make the necessary investments to secure that information.”


Enterprise Monitoring and Analytics


Joe Wrzosek,
EMA Practice Lead

“In 2018, there were a lot more companies adopting APM as the tools become more relevant, easy to use and add more value. I saw two breakthroughs in 2018, one being the APM monitoring capability for SAP. I think that’s of huge significance since, historically, SAP has been challenging to manage, especially since it’s at the core of many enterprise backend systems. Having the capability to look at SAP through an APM lens to get that visibility is a game-changer.

Another breakthrough in 2018 was more business relevant with AppDynamics releasing their Business iQ platform, which gives users the ability to correlate business metrics with performance. This is a huge development outside of the traditional IT space and it takes the whole relevance of APM up a level since it gives visibility into how the business is doing from a performance perspective.”


What’s Next?

Will these same tech trends dominate the industry next year? Stay tuned for my next post on 2019 predictions in enterprise IT.

Looking to stay on top of the latest and greatest in enterprise technology? Check out more content like this in The LAB and subscribe for updates on new resources.

Lastly, follow AHEAD on Twitter and LinkedIn for tech news from our experts, partners and industry leaders, along with updates on AHEAD’s jam-packed 2019 events schedule.