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2023 Predictions – automation, right sizing cloud requirements, zero trust and the growing importance of AI observability

Mark Cooke, COO of Xalient, looks ahead at what key technology trends will be on the horizon in 2023  


A year of extremes

2022 was a year of extreme complexities. With the post-pandemic and Brexit fallout, cost of living rises and inflationary pressures, geo-political issues, ongoing climate crisis, supply chain shortages and growing cybersecurity and data security threats, it was undoubtably another unprecedented year. In fact, ransomware set annual records again, with new ransomware strains emerging. Additionally, cloud adoption continued to grow, while the IT jobs market experienced significant skills shortages. As we look forward to the start of a new year, what trends are on the horizon in 2023 and what issues will organisations be grappling with?


Right sizing multi-cloud for your environment

In the year ahead, moving to the cloud and undergoing digital transformation initiatives will continue to be of the utmost importance to remain agile, modern and competitive. As workforces utilise hybrid working for the long term, environment modernisation will continue to be a priority. However, a challenge many organisations are still working through is how to deal with legacy networks and technologies, and how best to right-size their cloud or multi-cloud environment for their requirements. Some organisations have found themselves dealing with large and unpredictable cloud egress bills and consequently having to look at how best to right size their cloud infrastructure to combat this.


A shortage in skills means organisations will look to automate

The IT skills shortage has prompted companies to adopt more outsourcing of services as staff attrition continues to be a challenge. Hybrid working means employees have more choice when it comes to who they work for, while the general skills shortage is exerting upward pressure on wages. While Forrester predicts that global tech spending will rise, hitting $4.8 trillion in 2023, the current skills shortage might impact some of those IT programmes being deployed, which is why talent is a top challenge facing CIOs. This chronic talent shortage is pulling the profession into a wave of change. CIOs must lead their organisations to adopt innovative methods for attracting, hiring, retaining, and developing employees. Organisations will look at how they can best employ automation to drive maximum efficiencies and alleviate pressures.  Today automation is already resolving various daily issues for organisations in a faster way than traditional manual approaches. There are many mundane tasks that require manual inputs and take up a lot of time for IT teams.  Automation can cut through these, speeding up and streamlining the process, bringing in efficiencies and releasing precious resources for higher value tasks so that skills are better utilised, and employees feel challenged.


IT budgets likely to feel the squeeze.

IT budgets are likely to come under a squeeze as businesses look to tighten their belts amid continuing rising costs. IT leaders will need to put forward strong business cases to ensure the value of crucial infrastructure modernisation is heard across the business, and that budget constraints don’t hold such initiatives back. IT leaders will need to look at how projects can help drive efficiencies, competitive advantage, and cost savings. However, network security budgets are likely to see the opposite and be expanded. Therefore, budget squeezes will not be at the expense of network security as organisations recognise the criticality of ensuring their networks are secure.


Accelerated adoption of Zero Trust technologies and services.

Adopting a zero-trust approach to networks and security will continue to be a priority in the year ahead. It will be especially relevant to organisations tackling critical projects such as M&A and divestitures as they grapple with the challenges of economic recession. In these environments, zero-trust can be used as a catalyst to accelerate the benefits of separation or merger so that organisations can get a head start on modernisation and ensure compliance, while also ensuring their security posture is strong. According to Gartner, zero-trust network access security is forecast to grow by 31% in 2023 — up from less than 10% at the end of 2021. However, adversaries will deploy new technologies to overcome zero-trust defences and increase their success rate in future attacks.

According to IBM’s 2022 Cost of a Data Breach Report, the average costs increased to USD 4.35 million in 2022, climbing 12.7% from USD 3.86 million in the 2020 report. Additionally, a stunning 83% of organisations surveyed reported having incurred more than one data breach. This means there will be a need for comprehensive threat intelligence, monitoring and alert detection solutions in place, including endpoint device security.  There will also be a need for a holistic approach to zero trust with identity at its core, with an end-to-end framework to ensure integration, efficiency, and a strong network to withstand cyberattacks.


Observability will become the watchword in 2023

AI, ML and observability solutions that take AI to the next level, so that organisations are getting more actionable insights and predictions out of their data for improved reporting and analytical purposes, will be paramount. This is where we will see true AI solutions shine – ones that bring in intelligence and richer observability instead of simple monitoring. Observability is more about the correlation of multiple aspects, context gathering and behavioural analysis. Observability correlation enables applications to operate more efficiently and identify when a site’s operations are sub-optimal, with this context delivered to the right person at the right time. This means a high volume of alerts is transformed into a small volume of actionable insights.


Without a doubt 2023 will be a challenging year, but there will also be opportunity for innovation and growth in certain sectors.  This is where working with a cost-effective partner will be critical; a trusted partner that can rapidly pivot, innovate and adapt as requirements and market conditions evolve.