New year’s resolutions for network admins in 2015

Some inspiration for those thinking about the Internet of Things, security, mobility and more over the next 12 months

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In 2014, an Internet-connected fridge became the first spam-spewing smart appliance. That kitchenware could be hijacked by a botnet illustrated a hard fact about the Internet of Things: without proper security, web-linked appliances could be more of a threat than a benefit.

That’s not all we learned during these past 12 months. We also saw users’ attitudes toward mobile connectivity maturing. And we found that around the world, people’s opinions about the use of IT are coalescing.

These facts form context for network managers as they plan for 2015 and beyond. So, let’s review what I believe are the three most noteworthy networking trends of 2014 and how network managers should approach them, resolution-style.

Repeat after me. In 2015, I resolve to:

Think seriously about the Internet of Things

When an Internet-connected fridge was discovered sending spam, we became acutely aware of certain realities about the Internet of Things. For one, it’s crucial that owners of web-connected electronics, appliances and other items protect them from hackers. We also realized manufacturers of connected products must ensure their data analysis software, contact centre technology and customer relationship management systems allow for effective client communication. Failure on those fronts could cause the public to conclude smart appliances are nothing more than stupid spyware.

Acknowledge shifting attitudes about wireless connectivity

People used to be concerned that smartphones would keep them from focusing on work on weekdays and distract them from family and home activities on evenings and weekends. But that worry seems to be fading. In a survey BlackBerry conducted, two-thirds of respondents said smartphones give them the flexibility to work when and where they want, empowering people to direct their productivity. This is good news for IT decision makers who aim to build on their companies’ wireless initiatives in 2015. It should be easier than ever to get employees to use enterprise mobile apps and share information via wireless devices thanks to this new, arguably more mature approach to connectivity.

Treat the world as a unified user base

In the past, worldwide studies of people’s opinions about IT often showed regional distinctions: U.K. respondents would seem to be more interested in telework compared to Canadians, for example. But that’s not what Cisco found in its 2014 assessment of the global communications landscape. According to the company’s Connected World Technology Report, responses to questions about mobility, app development and information management were similar no matter where the respondents lived. Those results indicate a globalizing trend, which means companies need to be especially careful about their network technology decisions in 2015 and after. Mistakes made with respect to serving local users today could hinder plans to grow in new geographic markets down the road.

Resolution recap: Keep security in mind when it comes to the Internet of Things; embrace users’ new attitudes toward mobility; plan IT with a global mindset. If network managers act accordingly, they’ll avoid many potential problems—and hopefully make 2015 a tech success.

Image courtesy of noppasinw at

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