Several industry analysts have forecast that 2016 will be the ‘year of action’ on many technology fronts, as several recent trends become commonplace strategies. Cloud computing, data security and mobile are tops among them.

Indeed, “2016 will be a challenging year for IT as mobile and cloud force CIOs to adopt a more agile model of information security, policy design, technology evaluation, and lifecycle management,” says Ojas Rege, vice president of strategy at MobileIron. “This new approach overturns 30 years of legacy process and mindset but it can no longer be avoided. As a result, 2016 will be the first year of true transformation.”

Rege offered Information Management his six top predictions for what we can expect in 2016 on the mobile technology and cloud computing fronts. They are:

A brewing battle between modern and legacy

“In 2016, tension is building between the mobile and desktop teams in enterprise IT,” Rege says. “The catalyst will be Windows 10, which will allow organizations to adopt enterprise mobility management (EMM) solutions to secure the next generation of laptops and desktops. Over time, this approach will replace the traditional system image for many use cases because it promises greater security, agility, and cost-effectiveness. However, it will also disrupt existing desktop operations and create technology, budget, and organizational tensions between the splinter mobile team and the established desktop team.

An issue of end-user identity

There are many players and many approaches to the problem of end-user identity. Two of the key participants are Microsoft and Google, and this will be a long-term conflict. Both companies believe that identity is the foundation upon which services are provided to the user community. Both believe that if your platform is the authoritative source of that identity, then you will have a better chance of providing those services than the other company.”

“One battle line was drawn in 2015 when Microsoft did not support Google’s Android for Work initiative for most of the year, in part because it brought Google identity into the enterprise. Microsoft sees identity as its central control point for the cloud - the “who / what / where / how” of all enterprise services,” Rege notes.

The struggle between the OS and the hacker

“2015 saw more mobile malware than ever before, with a string of exploits such as Stagefright, KeyRaider, XcodeGhost, and YiSpecter. In 2016, we will see hackers continue to figure out clever ways to make apps appear “trusted,” Rege believes. “As a result, expect that Apple in particular will continue to shut down untrusted ways of distributing apps to devices, such as side-loading, and become much stricter about controlling the use of private APIs.”

Emerging Internet of Things

Despite all the attention it gets, the Internet of Things will continue to be mostly experimental in 2016, Rege says. “Every vendor will claim to do it, but very few will describe what “it” actually is.”

That will start to change by the end of 2016. “A set of high-value IoT use cases will emerge, and vendors will enter 2017 with the ability to deliver commercially useful solutions.”

“One subset of IoT -- smartwatches -- will start achieving its potential in 2016 as the first generation of simple and low-value extension apps is replaced by a second generation that truly takes advantage of the new form factor and interaction methods,” Rege explains. “A compelling data snacking (absorbing small amounts of data on a regular basis) model will emerge, but IoT innovation in the enterprise will require developers to rethink the company’s underlying business processes instead of simply porting existing apps to new platforms.”

Data sovereignty debate

“In 2015, the data sovereignty debate for cloud came to a head with the European Court of Justice invalidating Safe Harbor. In 2016, this scrutiny of cloud data will intensify, and regulatory bodies will debate actions that might impact the ability of cloud vendors to scale and innovate,” Rege says.

Neutrality is key for CIOs

Finally, “rapid technology change, evolving user demands, and app fragmentation will continue. CIOs will realize that neutrality is core to their mission and that they must be able to offer choice and best-of-breed solutions to their end users. Restricting choice forces the user community to seek out its own solutions and becomes a catalyst for shadow IT,” Rege concludes.

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