Now 2022 is upon us, many may breathe a deep sigh of relief to put the past 12 months behind them and look forward to a fresh new year of promise. 2021 has certainly thrown more than a few challenges at everyone, but what does 2022 hold for us in the realm of technology? Well, one thing’s for certain, in the ever-changing world of IT, nothing stands still, so here we look at what the upcoming trends might be in Prodec Networks’ key specialisms of ‘cloud, connect, communicate and protect’.
AS the COVID-19 crisis hit, demand for cloud-based technology skyrocketed, with businesses forced to focus on the delivery of digital services and fast-track their digital transformations. Indeed, although the world of work looks likely to evolve into an increasingly hybrid, remote and office-based, working model, the general migration to cloud computing seems set to continue. In fact, according to Gartner, global spending on cloud services is predicted to reach more than $482 billion in 2022, up from $313 billion in 2020, and The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) lists cloud computing as among the most important technologies for 2022 in a recent study – also naming artificial intelligence, machine learning and 5G. It would also appear that businesses are not only waking up to the business continuity, cost and scalability business advantages cloud-based technology can offer, but are becoming more aware of the considerable green benefits this innovative technology can provide, including cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
So, what specific trends does cloud computing have in store for 2022? Well, according to cloud expert Amir Hashmi, Founder and CEO of zsah, with the rise in hybrid working, cloud-delivered desktop-as a service (DaaS) platforms will become increasingly popular, as an invaluable solution to the limitations of hardware on a hybrid-model workforce. In this way, companies can achieve greater freedom to follow a work-from-anywhere culture, as well as boosting security. Indeed, the rapid rise in popularity of DaaS was evident in an annual study by Spiceworks of 1,145 IT buyers across Europe and North America, which found that 51% of respondents cited DaaS as an upcoming project in 2022, as opposed to hardly any in 2020.
Another trend in the cloud arena is a rising number of organisations opting for a hybrid cloud model, for their IT infrastructure. This combines public cloud services with the deployment of a private cloud, dedicated to a single business, and especially appeals to highly regulated industries, such as insurance, where data privacy is paramount. Its various benefits include enhanced security, flexibility and scalability, and such is its increasing popularity, that the global hybrid cloud market is expected to be worth $145 billion by 2026, up from $51 billion in 2020.
Although it would be possible to write a book on the rise in popularity of many individual cloud services, one which looks set to continue to be particularly in demand in 2022 is cloud-based disaster recovery, such as Prodec’s disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS). Indeed, Forrester forecasted at the end of 2020 that 20% more companies would move on-premises disaster recovery to the public cloud by the end of 2021, and in fact the DRaaS market is expected to grow to $12.54 billion by 2022, up from $2.19 billion in 2017. With the importance of providing robust protection for your data and ensuring business continuity never being greater, this trend is perhaps hardly surprising.
The sea change in the working landscape, brought on by the pandemic, whereby work can no longer be seen as a place people go to, but more as a thing they do, has called for the most innovative technology to ensure everyone stays connected, wherever they are located. With Gartner forecasting that 51% of knowledge workers, and 32% of all employees worldwide, will be working remotely by the end of 2021, 2022 seems set to see this trend continue. So, what technologies look likely to help? Well, adoption of software-defined wide area networks (SD-WANs) by businesses is predicted to increase further in 2022. In fact, the rapid rise of SD-WAN, which is essentially a way of modernising the traditional WAN infrastructure, is a result of the need to provide a higher performing network that can better deal with the demands of remote working and cloud applications, as well as its ability to help reduce costs. Indeed, in a recent survey, 58% of respondents said their main motivation for deploying SD-WAN was the cost benefits it can bring.
Another interesting trend was highlighted in a 2021 research paper by IDC and Limelight Networks on edge computing, which forecasted a 40% increase in edge deployment of network resource by 2022. It also predicted that by next year 60% of all network resources will be deployed at remote edge or service provider locations, up from 20% in 2020. Edge computing is all about bringing computation and data storage closer to the location where it is required. By processing data nearer the source, edge computing can speed up response times for devices and save data bandwidth. This therefore enables data to be processed, transferred and analysed at the ‘edge’ of the network, and can reduce data centre costs by allowing more efficient use of cloud computing systems. Edge computing is especially useful for Internet of things (IoT) devices, as it enables large amounts of data to be analysed in near real time, potentially improving appliance performance. In fact, it would certainly seem that this is a technology to watch closely, as 73% of industry professionals interviewed by IDC said they viewed edge as a strategic investment.
In addition, what is being hailed as next-generation Wi-Fi – Wi-Fi 6/6E – also looks set to skyrocket in 2022. According to a study by the Wireless Broadband Association (WBA), as many as 83% of service providers, equipment manufacturers and enterprises will have adopted this new technology by the end of 2022. This is being seen as a complementary technology to 5G, helping to boost speeds, reduce latency and enhance capacity, so providing higher performance and reliability, particularly in networks where many devices are competing for bandwidth. However, as technology is constantly evolving, the WBA is already looking forward to the next, even higher performing, version of this technology – Wi-Fi 7 – due to debut in 2025.
With the onset of the pandemic, having the equipment in place to enable employees to communicate and collaborate easily and effectively while working remotely became a priority for many businesses. Unified communications and collaboration technology therefore came into its own, with platforms such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom helping to keep the world working and socialising. While some users may have suffered from video meeting burnout on occasions, few could deny that this has been invaluable. However, what is the future for this technology now that the initial jolt of the coronavirus is over? Will they still remain relevant, and if so, how will they meet businesses’ evolving needs, as we move into 2022? Well, according to Heidi Elmore, Head of unified communication as a service (UCaaS) for Zoom, 70% of businesses agree that videoconferencing tools, such as these, will continue to be essential for business operations post-pandemic. Indeed, Zoom certainly has its finger on the pulse of what communication technology features will be most in demand in 2022, and in an interview with UC Today, she stated:
‘Innovations that increase access and equity will only grow in importance. In addition to our Zoom Whiteboard, Zoom Rooms Smart Gallery and other hybrid workforce innovations, we have expanded our translation and transcription services, and will be extending the automated transcription service from Zoom to include 30 languages. There will also be live translation available for 12 languages within the next year.’
While such new and innovative ways to communicate and collaborate are revolutionising industry, simply speaking to others will no doubt remain central to the success of business. Technologies that facilitate this will therefore continue to be vital. However, business telephony as a whole is facing something of a shake-up in the UK, in the coming three years, as the old analogue public switched telephone network (PSTN), the system that enables landline connectivity, and integrated services digital network (ISDN), the first version of high-speed Internet, will be shut down in 2025. The UK will therefore be migrating to a voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), or IP telephony, network. So, it will be vital for business continuity that the many companies still relying on this old technology migrate to a VoIP system as soon as possible, to future-proof their businesses. Thankfully, the solutions offering voice features are many, including cloud, on-premises and hybrid options, in this crucial area of communications, so it is reassuringly simple to switch.
Last, but most definitely not least, is the technology that can protect your IT network from the ever-growing cyberthreats that plague businesses, such as ransomware and phishing attacks. According to Gartner, in its recent top eight cybersecurity predictions, cybersecurity mesh architecture is a strategy to watch, as it forecasts that by 2024 companies adopting this will decrease the financial impact of security incidents by an average of 90%. Cybersecurity mesh is an IT defence strategy that independently secures every device with its own perimeter, such as firewalls and network security tools. This provides extended coverage outside the traditional security perimeter and can therefore help to boost protection for remote working, which could inevitably make it increasingly popular in today’s working world. It is also a key component of a zero-trust security model, whereby any device is not trusted, by default, to access the wider network.
Gartner also forecasts that by 2024, 30% of businesses will have adopted cloud-based secure web gateway (SWG), cloud access security brokers (CASB), zero-trust network access (ZTNA) and firewall as a service (FWaaS) solutions from the same provider. This makes sense, as Gartner also states that IT security leaders are frequently having to manage a whole host of tools, but are increasingly looking to consolidate these to fewer than 10, and software as a service (SaaS) will become the favoured delivery method for this – for example, Prodec’s comprehensive security as a service (SECaaS) solution.
So, if you’re looking to take your business to a whole new level in 2022, and need a professional and innovative IT provider to assist, get in touch today, to discuss how Prodec Networks could help set your business on the path to success in 2022.