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Spiceworks 2018 Predictions: IT budget increases, IoT insecurity, and GDPR unpreparedness

VMblog Predictions 2018

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2018.  Read them in this 10th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

Contributed by Peter Tsai, senior technology analyst at Spiceworks

IT budget increases, IoT insecurity, and GDPR unpreparedness

Predicting the future is tricky, especially in tech, where the only constant seems to be change. So much can happen in a single year, and many variables can affect companies and individuals differently. Therefore, it can be difficult for a single person to accurately forecast the future of IT for everyone.

But we've all heard there's power in numbers. And year round, Spiceworks surveys many members of its highly-active IT community to understand their tech plans for the future. Drawing on insights from 2017 research that included thousands of IT pros in multiple studies, Spiceworks can confidently make the following predictions about the future of IT in 2018.

In 2018, IT budgets will grow and the market will be good for job seekers

For the last few years, the state of the global economy has been strong, and next year will offer more of the same. According to the Spiceworks 2018 State of IT report, 60 percent of companies expect annual revenues to increase in 2018. That's not a huge surprise if you've paid attention to the news.

More noteworthy is the fact that 44 percent of companies expect their IT budgets to increase while 43 percent expect budgets to remain flat and 11 percent expect IT budgets to decrease. Among companies that anticipate budgetary gains, they expect a 19 percent increase in IT budgets on average. This upward trend represents a change from the relatively flat or declining IT budgets over the last few years.

Adding to the good news, the same study revealed that nearly half of organizations expect to hire more IT pros, compared to only 5 percent of companies that expect their IT department to shrink. And if you're wondering where exactly to look for a tech job in 2018, larger companies are much more likely to hire than smaller businesses.

In 2018, security scares will continue to be the new norm

Over the past year, we've heard about massive data breaches involving hundreds of millions of victims. And we've seen ransomware spread on an unprecedented scale, leaving a path of destruction in its wake and bringing down businesses and public institutions around the globe.

Adding to the bad news, IT pros don't expect things to get much better any time soon. In fact, in a Spiceworks poll, 52 percent of IT pros said they believe their organization is vulnerable to ransomware like WannaCry and Petrwrap.

The silver lining in this environment where new threats and breaches make headlines every week is that security adoption and spending is expected to rise in 2018. For example, according to the 2018 State of IT report, 66 percent of companies plan to adopt advanced security solutions by the end of 2018, which include data encryption, intrusion detection, and biometric technology.

IoT insecurity will plague companies in 2018

It's also evident that 2018 will be the year internet of things devices go mainstream in the workplace. According to the State of IT report, nearly 50 percent of businesses plan to use IoT devices by the end of 2018.

But the fact that many IoT manufacturers don't issue firmware updates or lock down their devices is troubling to IT professionals, especially since massive IoT botnets such as Mirai are hacking hundreds of thousands of insecure devices that often use default or hardcoded passwords. And in a recent Spiceworks poll, nearly half of IT pros said they expect the security of IoT devices to get worse over the next 10 years.

Businesses will scramble to prepare for GDPR, many at the last minute

Despite the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into effect on May 25, 2018, companies are woefully unprepared. In fact, many organizations, especially in the United States, might incorrectly assume that the regulations don't apply to them. According to a 2017 Spiceworks GDPR study, mere 9 percent of IT pros in the U.S. said they were informed about GDPR's impact on businesses.

But the GDPR clearly states that every organization around the world that collects any information on EU residents must comply with the regulation. Non-compliant companies face penalties of up to 4 percent of a company's annual revenue or 20 million Euros - whichever is higher.   

Despite this threat, the Spiceworks 2018 State of IT indicates that only 31 percent of US-based companies have budget allocated towards preparations in 2018. Europe fares better, with 56 percent of organizations allocating funds towards GDPR.

Wrapping up: IT in 2018

According to the data, the next year in IT will be characterized by both highs and lows. Alongside the positive economic predictions come looming compliance deadlines and increasing concerns about network security.

But the good news is that you're armed with knowledge of what's to come in advance, giving your IT department time to take action. And even if you don't know where to start in order to meet these challenges, know that you are not alone. Many of your fellow IT professionals have been in the same situation and can provide advice on how to tackle these upcoming challenges.

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About the Author

Peter Tsai 

Peter Tsai is a senior technology analyst at Spiceworks. Formerly a systems administrator, programmer, and server engineer who has lived IT from the inside and out, Peter now works to serve up IT articles, reports, infographics, and livecasts that inform and entertain millions of IT pros in Spiceworks worldwide. 

Published Wednesday, November 15, 2017 8:57 AM by David Marshall
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