Cisco: what makes a truly digital economy?
Digitisation is a term that is now used almost everywhere, from the factory floor to the boardroom. For businesses, digitisation is all about harnessing the design and deployment of digital technologies such as cloud, mobility, the Internet of Things (IoT) and next generation security, so they are better positioned to take full advantage of new opportunities.
For countries, it is fundamental to delivering a globally competitive digital economy. Today, digital strategies are being implemented by countries around the world to ensure digital is collaboratively embraced to drive economic growth.
If you thought the proliferation of digital technology was a phase, and this era of disruption will soon pass, you may want to think again. By 2021, more members of the global population will be using mobile phones (5.5 billion) than bank accounts (5.4 billion) or running water (5.3 billion), according to our latest Visual Networking Index (VNI), which forecasts global mobile data traffic for the next five years.
What is clear, is that as digital economies grow, mobile applications will become ever more important, ultimately acting as the heartbeat of a prospering digital nation. This is evident in the Cisco VNI forecast which forecasts that by 2021 Western European mobile data traffic will represent 12 percent of total IP traffic, up from just 5 percent of total IP traffic in 2016. Meanwhile, there will be 2.7 mobile connections per person by 2021, up from 1.6 in 2016 in Western Europe.
When we think about mobile, we have to think beyond the ubiquitous handheld devices which have become an intrinsic part of our day-to-day lives. Mobile connections are fundamental in delivering on the possibilities of IoT. The Cisco VNI reports that by 2021 there will be 569 million mobile-connected machine-to-machine (M2M) modules in Western Europe, up from 137 million in 2016.
IoT is no longer a vision of the future, it’s here and transforming the world around us. It represents a fundamental step towards the digitisation of our society and economy. According to the European Commission, the market value of IoT in the EU is expected to exceed one trillion euros in 2020.
We have reached an era in which everything from cars, bus stops, street-lights and clothing can be connected to the internet and be part of an ever-expanding network. This is crucial to the delivery of a thriving digital economy that touches all sectors. Practically, it’s about transport operators enhancing the passenger experience with real time updates, or connected patients who monitor themselves and provide real insight to clinicians and doctors.
The application of IoT across whole economies won’t happen overnight. While you can for example digitise government services to provide effective citizen communications, you can’t build a digital nation the same way you would a road. It’s a complex undertaking and needs to be a collaborative effort, which cannot be one mega-project, but a process that will happen in stages.
Today, cities are the new laboratories for IoT, acting as testbeds for how we can combine technology and business model innovations to create a connected world. They can help address the barriers we face to deploying smart cities, such as city governance, network security, user trust and adoption, interoperability, scalability and justifying investment; creating a blueprint which can then be adopted across whole countries and regions.
At Cisco we are working with cities across Europe - from Manchester and Barcelona to Hamburg and Paris - to deploy technologies that can help the wider economy to thrive. Here collaboration and ecosystems are particularly important. In Manchester alone, Cisco is working with 21 public and private organisations to deploy effective IoT applications in the city.
We are living through very exciting times. Digital innovation is reshaping countries and markets faster than any transition in history, and as the VNI indicates, this trend will gather pace – not decades out, but over the next 5 years. Digital is no longer just part of the economy — it is the economy. It’s an economy of limitless opportunities for some and disruption and displacement for others. Now is the time for nations to be bold, by both innovating and collaborating to ensure they embrace the former.
By Alison Vincent, Chief Technology Officer at Cisco UKI
IT Employees Predict 90% Increase in Cloud Security Spending
As companies get back on their feet post-pandemic, they’re going all-in on cloud applications. In a recent report by Devo Technology titled “Beyond Cloud Adoption: How to Embrace the Cloud for Security and Business Benefits”, 81% of the 500 IT and security team members surveyed said that COVID accelerated their cloud timelines. More than half of the top-performing businesses reported gains in visibility. In fact, the cloud now outnumbers on-premise solutions at a 3:1 ratio.
But the benefits are accompanied by significant cybersecurity risks, as cloud infrastructure is more complex than legacy systems. Let’s dive in.
Why Are Cloud Platforms Taking Over?
According to Forrester, the public cloud infrastructure market could grow 28% over the next year, up to US$113.1bn. Companies shifting to remote work and decentralised workplaces find it easy to store and access information, especially as networks start to share more and more supply chain and enterprise information—think risk mitigation platforms and ESG ratings.
Here’s the catch: when you shift to the cloud, you choose a more complex system, which often requires cloud-native platforms for network security. In other words, you can’t stop halfway. ‘Only cloud-native platforms can keep up with [the cloud’s] speed and complexity” and ultimately increase visibility and control’, said Douglas Murray, CEO at cloud security provider Valtix.
Here’s a quick list of the top cloud security companies, as ranked by Software Testing Help:
What are the Security Issues?
Here’s the bad news. According to Accenture, less than 40% of companies have achieved the full value they expected on their cloud investments. All-in greater complexity has forced companies to spend more to hire skilled tech workers, analyse security data, and manage new cybersecurity threats.
The two main issues are (1) a lack of familiarity with cloud systems and (2) challenges with shifting legacy security systems to new platforms. Out of the 500 IT employees from Devo Technology’s cloud report, for example, 80% said they’d sorted 40% more security data, suffered from a lack of cloud security training, and experienced a 60% increase in cybersecurity threats.
How Will Companies React?
They certainly won’t stop investing in cloud platforms. Out of the 500 enterprise-level companies that Devo Technology talked to throughout North America and Western Europe, 90% anticipated a jump in cloud security spending in 2021. They’ll throw money at automating security processes and investing in security upskilling programmes.
After all, company executives will find it incredibly difficult to stick with legacy systems when some cloud-centred companies have found success. Since moving from Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) offerings to the cloud, Accenture has saved up to 70% on its processes; recently, the company announced that it would invest US$3bn to help its clients ‘realise the cloud’s business value, speed, cost, talent, and innovation benefits’.
The company stated: ‘Security is often seen as the biggest inhibitor to a cloud-first journey—but in reality, it can be its greatest accelerator’.