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'2017 will be worse in every aspect of information security' - IDC

'2017 will be worse in every aspect of information security' - IDC

According to a senior researcher from the International Data Corporation (IDC) in 2017 South Africa will fall victim to at least one high-profile public breach, which is likely to be a data leak within the public sector – although the company cannot rule out a malware or ransomware attack in retail or healthcare.

Jon Tullett, research manager for IT services at IDC South Africa, says, "We believe 2017 will be worse in every aspect of information security. We expect continued exposure for South African businesses to major cybercrime syndicates, both directly and indirectly. However, IDC expects that South Africa will contribute several new technologies aimed thwarting attacks, particularly in relation to IoT applications."

A reflection of the country's continued exposure to cybercrime and the prevalence of data leaks, ransomware and Internet of Things (IoT) malware in 2016 formed part of IDC's list of predictions for 2017 – a year the ICT research and consulting services firm suggests will be marked by more innovation impacting on traditional ICT, as well as a strong focus on technology to enable business outcomes.

In 2015 the company predicted that digital transformation will come to the fore and lay the foundation for the further rollout of smart city successes. It also forecast that Africa's IT security and physical security would become more connected, and there would be a shift to what it called tighter, more digitised supply chains in both the public and private sector.

"This year has undoubtedly been a difficult year for economies around the world," says Mark Walker, IDC's associate vice president for Sub-Saharan Africa. "The South African economy has not emerged unscathed. Marginal economic growth and political instability have made the business environment very difficult to navigate, and organisations are looking at technology to drive down their costs while improving the way they operate. Business confidence has also taken a knock because of the economic and political instability."

"We have seen a very strong focus on datacentre infrastructure and operations during the past year," continues Walker. "Information security and enterprise software have also been among the top three priorities for CIOs during the same period. Interestingly, cloud computing was only at number seven of the top priorities, which is unexpected considering the global rush to the cloud as a driver of digital transformation and business agility."

Consolidtion and outsourcing

The next wave of ICT development in South Africa will see organisations across the country doing more with less while consolidating and outsourcing legacy IT, according to the latest forecasts.

Tullett says South Africa has lagged in cloud adoption due to the lack of local infrastructure, data protection concerns, and conservative investment strategies. "IDC believes 2017 will see at least one major global cloud provider establishing local datacentre infrastructure to service the region. This will address key concerns and spur competition and adoption while putting pressure on local providers. New public cloud spend will overtake on-premise in areas such as collaborative applications, application development software and platforms, and customer relationship management (CRM)."

He recommends that organisations continue to invest in a private cloud but develop the capabilities to transition workloads into public cloud as circumstances change: "Organisations should reassess their application capabilities with a view to cloud capabilities and invest in cloud skills around critical workloads, as well as integration and management. They should also reevaluate contracts and relationships with software providers to ensure that they meet their business requirements."

The IDC expects the number of mobile enterprise applications to almost double as the shift from devices to mobile apps accelerates, and local companies to increase their investment in analytics and big data.

Says Tullett, "Behavioural analysis and prediction will become mainstream in 2017, directly driving product development in banking, financial services, and insurance in particular. In 2017, analytics will be the primary resource responsible for thwarting major criminal incidents."

George Kalebaila, senior research manager for telecommunications at IDC South Africa, said, "In 2017, near field communication (NFC) will start pushing mobile payments to the fore, but will still remain on the peripheral and will be niche. 5G curiosity and hype from mobile operators and vendors will lead to 5G becoming part of enterprise executive discussions."

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