Sanjay Beri, CEO, Netskope
Sanjay Beri, CEO, Netskope

I'm not a big predictions guy. I don't own a crystal ball, though I have been known to ask questions of my daughter's “Magic 8-Ball” on occasion. When it comes to enterprise IT, however, I do have some strong opinions about what 2014 will bring.


Organizations will harness data, especially for security.
Next year, expect businesses to turn to data for insights. To do this, organizations will bring in new technologies to pore through data in order to solve myriad business challenges and will seek clarity through deeper analytics. IT and business decision-makers will leverage insights gained to better understand the threats, risks, and opportunities the technology tools their employees are using. Specifically, they will be looking to find out how users are accessing cloud apps and uploading, downloading, sharing, and editing sensitive corporate data residing in the cloud. Beyond security risks and potential threats, they will also seek opportunities for cost savings through better cloud usage and contract visibility, which will enable them to streamline and consolidate services. This new intelligence will enhance the value of existing investments in security information and data leakage solutions. 

Cloud applications will cross over from nice-to-have to business-critical.
In 2014, cloud apps will graduate beyond the “must have vs. nice to have” debate – IT and business leaders will agree that cloud apps are here to stay. Representing more than 30 percent of IT spend today, cloud services have reached a tipping point across nearly every business function in organizations of all sizes. 

Cloud app security and policy enforcement will be of utmost importance. 
Understanding that cloud app usage is here to stay, businesses will look for solutions to make sure apps can be used in a more secure and compliant way. Companies will implement technology to identify and protect unknown apps, data and assets once they understand the implications of threats within cloud app usage. They'll also look to create granular policies that shape cloud app usage, which will enable them to confidently deploy and use cloud apps.

Applications that don't keep up with security standards will fall by the wayside. 
Incumbent solutions will face a number of challenges in the coming year. Existing legacy technologies will face increased scrutiny on the security front, and faced with rapid adoption of cloud and mobile tools, and will lose their foothold among IT. 

IT leaders will proactively embrace cloud, mobile, and consumerization.
IT leaders who haven't proactively worked to accept the changing tides resulting from consumerization, bring-your-own-device (BYOD), mobile and cloud will struggle to remain relevant in 2014. Businesses that have failed to embrace these trends will be forced to change their position to retain talent and grow, and will actively seek to embrace these key industry trends.

If I had to point out one theme from the above thoughts, it would be that cloud apps are just as disruptive as they've ever been and that we'll continue to see efforts to adapt to the consumer/employee demand for these tools and services.