10 December 2012

2013 will finally be the era of the Internet of Things

2013 is likely to bring changes and challenges at least as significant as those experienced over the last decade, as web technologies drive three major step changes, according to Tufin Technologies.

"We're on the cusp of technological advancements that sci-fi movie fans have so far only dreamed of," comments Tufin CTO Reuven Harrison, indicating that next year will see a step change in acceleration to the 'Internet of Things' – the first change – driven by technology and the depletion of IP addresses.

"I believe we will witness a level of industry-wide co-operation, co-ordination and partnership that has never occurred before, to facilitate the successful transition to IPv6," he explains.

However, Harrison says that, in addition to massive infrastructure modifications required, the transition itself will require effort as great as the vision of IPv6 – the 'Internet of Things'.

For him, this is not a dream: IPv6 adoption (and the 340 billion IP addresses it brings) promises a world where every physical object is linked to the Internet and able to communicate with every other object.

"Over the next 12 months, we will witness the formation of 'IPv6 islands' within larger IPv4 networks," states Harrison. "These pure IPv6 subnets will help the industry to mature.

"Vendors will introduce support for IPv6, and network engineers will gain knowledge about its architecture, routing, and security. In addition, human and financial resources will be dedicated to moving IPv6 forward."

That said, Harrison also states that the focus of IT next year will change from provider, to service delivery – his number two. For him, companies' increasing dependence on applications will drive a significant change of corporate IT focused much less on providing and maintaining the infrastructure.

We've already started to see this with some progressive organisations – for example, the rise of web-based applications and cloud-based, as-a-service, business models," he reasons.

"Although cloud computing has changed how and what enterprises outsource, in 2013 we will see the ripple effect hit internal IT organisations. New departments, such as application operations and application development, will start to infiltrate the organisation.

"Change processes will span departments, including application development, IT operations and network security. To become more agile and responsive, enterprises will need to improve communications between the groups within IT and will likely rely on process automation and other technology-driven solutions to expedite this shift."

As for Harrison's third prediction, less surprisingly perhaps he forecasts firewalls becoming embedded within the network infrastructure.

"While the enterprise firewall market is already saturated it is far from stagnant. New firewalls continue to be introduced, enhanced unified threat management systems (UTMs), and the incumbent firewall vendors have developed their own NGFWs [next generation firewalls].

"In 2013, I believe this trend will accelerate. Companies from various domains will introduce their own firewall, each with enough razzamatazz to secure adoption. In tandem, I think enterprises will find themselves with an increased set of management challenges, not least that they'll now have far more firewall 'flavours' to choose from."

Brian Tinham

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