I usually try to stay away from predicting the future and leave that to analysts and journalists but there are right now some trends that I think we’ll see capitalize in 2014. These are by no means predictions or statements of what Microsoft will do in this space but are on trend with what the likes of Gartner and others think.
Enterprise Device governance will become more critical
BYOD has taken off in a big way and will continue to do so, but with a greater media focus on trust and security we will start to see businesses thinking more abut the governance of those devices. For the many businesses that aren’t planning BYOD projects they too will start to be overwhelmed by device proliferation and risk concerns and will increasingly focus on device governance.
The digital workspace will continue to evolve
Where we work has changed much over the years, today the office doesn’t have to be THE place if work and increasingly home is A place of work. For smaller orgs the co-working spaces have become a way of life and indeed even some larger organizations are embracing them as a way for employees to be productive. The digital workspace is changing too, actually I think its beginning to resemble the traditional paper metaphor more and more with multiple devices replacing the functions of different paper sizes. The point is that we need many different devices and apps to access our data and our infrastructure must support that.
The IT world is now also starting to talk about Desktop as a Service (DaaS) whereby the desktop is running in then cloud. This service offering gives IT huge advantages while also allowing users to have lighter devices (both in terms of power and size). I think we will see this trend start to become Desktop as an App since our current app centric world likes the advantages of apps to leverage services.
Multi factor auth will become more commonplace
There is a trend of consolidating trust emerging. We are used to now being able to easily share as enabled by social and the cloud but in 2014 we want to do that more securely than before. Multi factor authentication is easier than ever since we all carry multiple devices, each of which can be an authentication factor. For example your tablet can be trusted (using Device Registration) and you might need to use your phone to receive a onetime password in addition to your user account password. If you think your users are going to struggle just remember that multiple authentication factors are used commonly outside of the enterprise today for Internet banking, Facebook and even to access Outlook.com or Hotmail.
Data controls that aren’t reliant on admins
Almost everyone reading this is probably an admin and hopefully you’ll agree with the statement that you don’t know the ins and outs of all the data in your organisation. If you do you should probably know less. One trend that will pock up in 2014 is that organisations will no longer want the admins to hold the keys to the secrets they will no longer need to be responsible for the permissioning of data. Frankly you can’t be because you can’t and shouldn’t know then contents of al the data. In 2014 expect to spend more time investigating technologies that secure data based on its content.
Enterprise wearables will appear
Wearing an activity tracker like the Fitbit that I wear might not seem too like something that you’d be doing for work purposes but there are many examples where wearable devices are becoming useful. Gartner sites some great examples in law enforcement, but they’re often being used in other key worker scenarios. This year I think we’ll see them appear for information workers for the first time.