Infinitely Virtual 2017 Predictions: Beware the Weaponization of the IoT and be Mindful of the Transformative Power of Storage Speed

By Adam Stern |

Virtualization and Cloud executives share their predictions for 2017. Read them in this 9th annual series exclusive.

Beware the Weaponization of the IoT – and Be Mindful of the Transformative Power of Storage Speed

In the year ahead, look for two powerful trends – one ominous, one promising — to potentially reconfigure the IT landscape:

The coming weaponization of the IoT. For users of Twitter, Airbnb and Reddit – among other major online destinations – October 21 was a different kind of black Friday. An enormous DNS attack took those sites down, in the latest of what continues to be an onslaught of hacks and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) events. When DNS went down, an entire world went down with it. In the immediate aftermath, too many missed the implications of this singular occurrence.

Massive volumetric attacks are something new and particularly troubling, and no single firewall can stop them – especially when the attacks are emanating from connected (read: Internet of Things-linked) devices, as they were in this case.  Terminator-like, this insidious “rise of the machines” means that virtually every intelligent device, from a flat-screen TV to a garage-door opener to a rain controller can be commandeered for a DDoS attack.  The IoT is suddenly a missile pointed at just about any business. 

Think about that for a moment: you now need a firewall to protect your refrigerator.  Or, even more diabolically, to shield unsuspecting users from that Samsung side-by-side.  Is the local loop protecting others before an attack hits, or even capable of doing so?

What of this eclectic parade of seemingly benign consumer electronic devices?  According to Residential Systems, “there are solutions to help reduce risk.  [Trade associations] CEDIA and CTA are working on best practice guidelines (first by identifying attack sources), and are looking for anyone with expertise who would be willing to participate in their research.”

While no one can predict the timing or the severity of the next attack, users won’t find themselves entirely defenseless in 2017.  Look for volumetric attack protection technology to take center stage.  This technology represents a new model for real-time DDoS mitigation through the automatic analysis of DDoS alerts and deployment of routing commands to ensure that immediate action is taken when legitimate DDoS attacks are detected – all without any human intervention.  

The transformative power of storage speed.  In 2017, users will recognize and embrace the primacy of high-speed storage in overall infrastructure performance.  Sub-millisecond speeds must and will become the new normal.  During the coming year, savvy users will understand that if providers aren’t delivering storage performance at this level, they simply aren’t delivering.  Increasingly, storage infrastructure has been the bottleneck, incapable for keeping pace with today’s demands, which is why providers will move aggressively to offer new solutions that provide substantially better performance, IT efficiency and reliability.  To meet future demands, these solutions will lay the foundation for a software-defined infrastructure that has the agility to quickly adapt as demand grows and shifts. 

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