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Data providing plenty of opportunities in 2016

It is that time of year when the predictions are flying in but already it is clear that those protecting, storing and helping analyse data should be in a strong position

With the end of the year just a matter of days away thoughts in the channel are already turning to what 2016 might bring with many looking to get themselves prepared for the expected areas of high customer demand.

Already it is safe to say that next year will include more 'business transformation' as customers look to move more applications and processes into the cloud or tweak the existing balance they have established.

But beyond providing more advice around cloud and the mix of private of public platforms there are other areas where the channel should be getting a strong interest from customers.

If data is the lifeblood of a company and its most important asset then the channel can find a rich vein of opportunities if it pitches solutions around protecting that information.

One of the main topics is going to be security with the issue rarely out of the public spotlight. Already 2015 has included its fair share of high profile breaches and most firms now accept that it is inevitable they will be attacked at some point.

“Next year we will see cybercriminals cast a wider net, move away from malicious document attachments and increasingly leverage emerging vectors such as mobile applications and social media platforms. Our six 2016 predictions all have one theme in common—cybercriminals are targeting the people behind devices and are looking to capitalize on their willingness to click," said Kevin Epstein, VP of threat operations at Proofpoint.

Catalin Cosoi, chief security strategist at Bitdefender, echoed the views of many choosing to highlight the internet of things as an area that will provide plenty of concerns next year.

“IoT devices will become increasingly popular in 2016, and thus more appealing to cyber-criminals. Their short development lifecycle and limits on processing or battery power leave large holes in a devices security, meaning most IoT devices will be vulnerable to compromise," stated Catalin.

Along with the latest and greatest threats there will continue to be plenty of 'bread and butter' opportunities for the channel to sell firms tools to defend themselves from a range of established attacks.

Data is of course not just confined to a security sale and there is plenty going on in the storage world with many expecting 2016 to be the year that software defined storage will go mainstream.

There should also be an opportunity for resellers to pitch archiving as a service with Nik Stanbridge, VP marketing at Arkivum, expecting the benefits to become clearer in the months ahead.

"In-house IT will ‘let go’ and realise that the benefits of outsourcing to specialty archive storage providers will far outweigh concerns about security, access and control. IT will be happy not to have to worry about buying too much storage too early, or being caught short with not enough. They’ll realise that predictable costs and outsourcing resource-intensive headaches like upgrades and system migration will make a lot of sense. The clue is in the name… ‘service’. Using a managed service, as in-house IT departments already do for so many other services, will be a burden removed," stated Stanbridge.

As well as getting older data archived and looked after there will also be a demand for more analytical tools to get business insights out of the information that is coursing through the viens of a business.

Business intelligence player Yellowfin expects the demand from customers for BI tools to continue to increase causing more channel partners to take on the technology.

Peter Baxter, managing director EMEA at Yellowfin, said that there will also be a need for closer relationships between resellers and vendors to make sure the channel can get all of the information they need to keep on top of the support that users will be expecting from them.

There will be plenty of growth opportunities next year but when it comes to the data the trio of security, storage and BI will all be areas where customers will be looking for assistance and the channel will be expected to come up with answers.

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