With the year ahead likely to bring turbulence in the global economy and uncertainty with regards to Brexit, the challenge for all organisations is to more efficient in their use of cloud, data and technologies, writes iomart CTO Bill Strain.

Forrester for instance predicts that the pragmatic approach will replace the strategic approach and “enterprises will get real about on-premises and hybrid clouds.” The emphasis this year, they say, will be on translating tech-led innovation into customer value and putting employee experience centre stage.

There’s also no doubt that many smaller businesses are continuing to struggle with maintaining their own IT in the face of greater complexity and supporting remote workforces. Change is everywhere.

Traditional institutions in banking, retail and property are already under threat from digital upstarts who can deliver rapid fire new feature releases and for whom online and delivering compute close to the devices being used is everything.

So where does the future lie?

Hybrid cloud, multi-cloud and edge computing can help organisations meet many of these challenges. Hybrid cloud gives an organisation the flexibility to match workloads to specific environments and the ability to protect data appropriately, while multi-cloud allows departments within it to transform their operations using different clouds. Edge computing, where data is securely managed but delivered almost instantaneously locally to the device, delivers the speed required for those companies investing in AI and machine learning.

But the future is also about micro services. Container-driven hosting allows the instant provisioning of containers on-demand – something that can help enterprises re-architect their applications to produce cost efficiencies, reduce time to deployment and offer customers far more flexibility than ever before, enabling them to compete on a more level playing field with those start-up competitors.

Whichever way you choose to enable growth and transformation in 2019, there is also the ever present need, with Brexit and the GDPR, to build security into everything.

Even if compliance can’t yet be certified, solutions will need to be designed which tick the security boxes at all levels, from DDoS protection at the network perimeter to backup and archiving and everything in between. Security by design will become the default approach and not just a ‘nice to have’ with growing requirements for intrusion prevention systems, web application firewalling, OSE level anti-virus and malware protection as well as encryption, multi-factor authentication and complex user management and access models.

The ability to protect data and restore backed up files is no longer sufficient for modern business. Data has also become the fuel for business success, driving insights, customer targeting and business planning. The shift to data management will be key therefore as more organisations attempt to extract additional value from their data. As well as the need to protect it, data also needs to be properly archived and easily searchable, so it can be leveraged for analytics while meeting compliance requirements.

Business demand continues to grow for simplification, consolidation and ease of management and in iomart you will find a partner to help you deliver on this. With ISO-accredited data centres across the UK and Europe, cloud specialists who can design and implement the most complex and secure environments, close relationships with the hypercloud providers, and the ability to deliver cloud services close to where your customers are across the globe, iomart can be there with you to ensure 2019 is a positive and productive year for your business.

Click here to get in touch and find out how we can help your business in 2019.