With the Internet of Things (IoT) rapidly changing the technology landscape, here is a list of things we think you should watch closely in 2018.

Edge Computing

Just when we were beginning to get comfortable with the concept of Cloud Computing, it might become obsolete. Edge Computing will soon become the norm, with more companies beginning to see the potential in device level processing. With the need for faster real-time computing, sending data to the cloud and back might just make things a tad bit slow.

An excellent example to highlight the need for Edge Computing can be seen in the case of self-driving cars. Split-second decisions need to be made to avoid accidents. Even a minuscule computational delay may cause grave harm.

Also, there is an ever-growing concern for data security. Hackers are becoming increasingly adept at getting their hands on secure data. Edge Computing will allow companies to save sensitive data locally.

Amazon’s AWS Greengrass and Microsoft’s Azure Stack are just two examples of the value companies are placing in the power of edge computing. If you haven’t made a note of this technology yet, now is the time.

nw_how_edge_computing_works_diagram

Figure 1: ©Network World http://bit.ly/edge_computing

Software-Defined Wide-Area Networking (SD-WAN)

Whereas Edge Computing is still taking baby steps, SD-WAN is ready to spread its wings and fly. Increasing demand for cloud applications has led to an explosion in web traffic. SD-WAN aims to deliver a simple and secure cloud-enabled WAN connection that can be used for premium business services.

According to Gartner estimates, 25% of users will start using SD-WAN by 2019 and the SD-WAN market will grow to $1.3 billion by 2020. The vendor landscape currently is made up of over 40 companies, including large incumbents (for example, Cisco and Nokia), incumbents from adjacent markets (for example, Citrix and Riverbed), startups (for example, CloudGenix and VeloCloud) and established niche players (for example, Cybera and ZeroOutages, a division of XRoads Networks).

Optimization of cloud connectivity, ease of use and reduced costs are just some of the factors driving the accelerated adoption of SD-WAN.

Intent Based Networking

Another area gathering interest in the next year would be Intent Based Network Systems (IBNS), or as Cisco likes to call it, “Intuitive Network”. Intent based networking promises to improve network availability and agility by helping plan, design and implement/operate networks. Simply put, IBNS will allow network users to move away from the age-old, labor-intensive Command Line Interface and onto more of a self-operating network which will have the capability to monitor itself, identify issues and solve them automatically. Although it may be a little too early to create a who’s who list, some startups that are doing some cool stuff in the domain are Apstra, Forward Networks, Waltz and Veriflow.

Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFW)

With the recent Yahoo and Equifax data breaches, companies have been shocked into giving their data security systems a closer look. Therefore, we believe that an area that will gain momentum in the time to come will be NGFW. NGFWs integrate three key assets: enterprise firewall capabilities, an Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) and application control. In addition to the functionality of traditional firewalls, NGFWs also include deep-packet inspection, reputation-based malware detection as well as application awareness. Check Point Software Technologies, Palo Alto Networks, and Fortinet are some of the key players leading this space.

Over the next few years we will see a new class of NGFWs evolve, with the added capabilities of high performance, real-time threat response and Advanced Threat Protection (such as Sandboxing and Threat Intelligence).

Author: Saumya Garg