What are the Most Important IT Topics in 2018?

Complete system outages, disaster scenarios of all conceivable kinds – from ATMs on strike to haphazardly flashing traffic lights or even nuclear weapons that initiate their own launch codes: These were the dire predictions around 20 years ago. Do you remember the ‘year 2000 problem’, also known as the Millennium Bug? There were widespread fears that all kinds of chaos would be caused by catastrophic computer outages in the night of 1 January 2000, when the first digit for the year switched from a 1 to a 2. So there was no doubt what the answer would be when people were asked “What is THE most important topic for 1999?” But what will 2018 have in store for the world of IT? Achim Herber, Executive Vice President Central Europe at COMPAREX, believes the following three topics will set the agenda.

Achim Herber, Executive Vice President at COMPAREX

An article by Achim Herber, Executive Vice President – Central Europe (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) at COMPAREX

Topic number 1: The EU GDPR

I’ll start my thoughts for 2018 with a brief review, as I repeatedly discover astonishing parallels to the Millennium Bug in regard to my number one topic, the new European Union General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR for short. What are they?

1st point: There is a clear date. The bug’s ‘deadline day’ was 31 December 1999, and this time it is 25 May. From then on, the GDPR must be implemented, i.e. applied. However frequently one hears it, the statement that “The new EU GDPR comes into force on 25 May 2018” is nevertheless erroneous. It actually came “into force” back in May 2016! People always seem astonished by this fact. “What,” they say, “it’s already in force?” That’s when the real parallels begin: Many people in charge didn’t consciously realize that they would have to make adjustments until they picked up on reports in the media – some earlier, others later. So it’s almost a Millennium Bug déjà vu.

2nd point: Bustling activity and a tendency toward spontaneous and largely symbolic gestures will grow rapidly among those that did not wake up until the last minute, the closer we get to the decisive day. I would even venture the prediction that – just like they did at the end of 1999 – a large number of providers will tap their customers for a slice of their budgets in the first half of 2018, and that what they offer will be in no relation to the benefits that the customers acquire. If they can expect any benefits at all!

3rd point: Although the disasters were largely conspicuous in their absence on New Year’s Eve 1999, many of the companies that had investigated sensible countermeasures long before the end of the year – for instance by investing in sensible hardware and software updates – were in a far better position than their competitors, across all sectors.

And it is no different today.

At COMPAREX, we have advised our customers since the regulation came into force in 2016, and long before the word ‘new’ was added as a common prefix for May 2018. These companies – again across all sectors – may observe the anticipated activities with interest, but in completely relaxed frame of mind.
Nevertheless, for the reasons outlined above, the GDPR will be among the most important issues in 2018, across all sectors. 

Topic number 2: Security

It’s a real evergreen, of course! And while new threats are emerging continuously, there are also new, let’s say, ‘alliances’ to defend against them. After all, a company’s security today is only as good as the security of each staff member. Hackers who successfully gain access to an employee’s private social media account are now as good as ‘inside’ – meaning the company! We would all be amazed to find out how many platforms, forums and websites we log into with our password protected accounts, whether for banking, dating, professional networks or just to buy books! And we can all be certain that our colleagues have more or less a similar number of accounts.

A horror scenario. But the already tight network of intersecting points between personal and professional lives has a good side as well! While the number of risks is likely to have grown exponentially, the shared interest in security is probably just as high. The task of finding solutions that address threats in all their various manifestation on the one hand, while leveraging our shared interests on the other, will ensure that security again becomes one of the most important IT topics of 2018. 

Topic number 3: Business Continuity for cloud solutions like Azure or AWS

German companies have already changed their mind set. Decisions in 2018 concerning public cloud or SaaS solutions will no longer focus on the misgivings. They will move on from the question of whether hosted environments in the cloud, for instance Office 365, are viable at all, and instead will exclusively address the issue of finding the best possible solution. But what about backup, disaster recovery or data protection? After all – and this is something that we at COMPAREX notice quite frequently in discussions – the high availability of a SaaS solution is often equated with data backup and archiving. But that is a fallacy, of course. Anyone who fails to take the right precautions may have a rude awakening. That’s why I am convinced that Business Continuity in the cloud will be a hugely important topic in 2018 as well.

I wish you all a happy and successful 2018!

Would you like support to be equipped for the most important IT topics in 2018?

Our experts will gladly advise you on the EU General Data Protection Regulation, Security and Business Continuity.

 Get in touch with us

Leipzig, 08.01.2018

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