Small Business Technology Predictions for 2018

Small Business Technology Predictions for 2018

If you managed to find the time to read the technology blogs in 2017, you know that news about major data breaches and the growth of cloud computing dominated the headlines. We predict that little will change about the nature of the tech headlines in 2018.

Cloud computing won't just continue to grow at a rapid pace; it'll become an indispensable part of most businesses' tech strategies. Ransomware, DDoS attacks, and other security woes won't go away in 2018; some attack vectors will actually become more vulnerable. Luckily, the cyber security news won't be all bad in 2018. New security advancements -- along with a long overdue update from Microsoft -- may make ransomware less of a concern in 2018 than it was in 2017.

How can you prepare your company to meet the challenges of the tech landscape in 2018? Read on to learn about our predictions.

Spear Phishing Attacks Will Increase in Sophistication

Spear phishing -- attacks that attempt to exploit inside information about their victims -- will become more common and more effective in 2018.

Information stolen in breaches, such as the 2017 Equifax data breach, will become available on the black market, and attackers will use that information to craft highly personalized and targeted attacks. How likely would you be to open an email from someone who knows your spouse's name, where you work and where you went to school? We will continue to feel the ramifications of the Equifax data breach for some time before businesses finally start to get tough about email security.

The Good Guys Will Win the Next Round of the Ransomware War

Ransomware may go down as the greatest security concern among users, business owners and security professionals in 2017.

In 2018, we may begin to see real progress made against the criminals who create and spread ransomware. More business owners will realize that a cloud-based data backup and disaster recovery solution can dramatically help curb ransomware attacks because there's no need to pay the ransom to recover an encrypted file because that exists in a backup.

Security solutions will also get better at identifying and stopping ransomware attacks before they can do damage. More businesses and security providers will adopt cloud-based machine learning algorithms capable of detecting the signs of a ransomware attack before the user has a chance to execute the file.

Microsoft is also doing its part to stop ransomware. The 2017 Windows 10 Creators Update adds a new security feature called Controlled Folder Access. With the feature enabled, an application cannot modify the contents of a protected folder -- such as the user's Documents folder -- without permission. The feature can prevent many ransomware strains from executing their payloads.

DDoS Attacks Will Continue to Grow in Scope

As home automation and Internet-connected devices continue to increase in popularity, the security concerns that those devices cause will become too great to ignore.

Consumers love the convenience of a device that can report its status or accept commands via a smartphone app -- but many IoT devices ship with default passwords that are either widely known or easy to crack.

Even now, criminals are raising armies of millions of zombie IoT devices around the world. Eventually, governments may begin to draft regulations aimed at increasing the security of Internet-connected devices -- but those regulations will do little to increase the security of devices that already exist in the wild. Hackers will use IoT botnets to leverage major DDoS attacks against businesses of every size in 2018. Cloud service providers with excellent DDoS mitigation strategies can provide the safe harbors from such attacks.

5G Wireless Networks Will Increase Consumer Performance Expectations

Mobile networks grow in speed and capacity each year, and 5G mobile networks are next on the horizon. As 5G networks begin to roll out nationwide, consumers will expect the performance of their favorite websites and mobile applications to keep up.

If your company doesn't already host its website and digital services on a distributed cloud network, now is the time to upgrade. Traditional data centers will not have the performance characteristics necessary to provide acceptable performance over next-generation mobile networks.

Corporate Cloud Spending Will Continue to Increase

Your company probably has more than enough reasons to adopt cloud computing already. If you're still not certain whether now is the right time for a cloud migration, though, here is another reason: All of your competitors are doing it.

Through 2020, growth in corporate spending on cloud computing will outpace the growth rate of total IT spending by about six times.

The Major Cloud Providers Will Get Bigger

The cloud computing marketplace is quickly boiling down to three key players: Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. Forrester predicts that those three players will control 76 percent of the cloud platform market by next year.

By the end of the decade, the market share of those three players could grow to 80 percent. What applications will companies use with all of that cloud computing power? If you had to take a stab at that answer right now, the top three cloud application providers in 2018 will be Microsoft, Oracle, and Salesforce.

Big Data Processing Will Become More Accessible

Some experts predict that the total amount of available cloud storage will grow to as much as 1.1 ZB -- or 1,100,000,000 TB -- in 2018. Businesses' data storage needs will also grow, but cloud providers will still end up looking for ways to use all of their excess high-speed storage.

When cloud providers have excess computing resources that they need to sell, small businesses win. In 2018, you can expect cloud-based applications and services -- such as artificial intelligence platforms designed to make sense of unstructured data -- to become faster and more affordable than ever. The ability to process big data will enable small businesses like yours to become more competitive and make better decisions.

A Personal Cloud Data Storage Service Will Be the Next Major Data Breach Victim

By the end of next year, as many as 3.5 billion people around the world will use cloud-based services for storage of personal data. With the wealth of financial data available in the cloud, services such as iCloud, Google Drive and Dropbox are natural targets for hackers.

Don't assume that your data is safe simply because companies such as Google and Apple tell you as much is true. While it may not be possible for a hacker to penetrate a service such as iCloud, Google Drive or Dropbox and steal all of the stored data, individual accounts are potentially vulnerable to phishing attacks.

If your company's employees use a cloud-based storage service to store corporate data -- perhaps for collaboration or sharing with clients -- you'll need to spend extra time in 2018 educating your people about email security.

What will not change in 2018 is the fact that education will continue to play a vital role in the security of your data. A chain is still only a strong as the weakest link, and no silver-bullet exists to make an organization impervious to cyber threats.

Additionally, having an outsourced partner at your disposal to monitor your IT network, and provide proactive cybersecurity advice will continue to be an asset into 2018, and far beyond. Continuous has a proven track-record of helping small and medium-sized business owners achieve greater productivity, profitability, and safety through technology-based solutions.

We don't have a crystal ball, but if you have questions right now that need answering when it comes to your internal IT infrastructure, we can help!