October 29 marks Internet Day – a day to celebrate the most important invention in human history, the Internet. A number of leading experts at enterprise technology companies look at how the Internet has changed the business landscape and the risks/rewards that have accompanied this invention.
Todd Krautkremer, CMO at Cradlepoint, commented: “When RAND researcher, Paul Baran, set out to design a more robust, redundancy based communications network, he had no idea he was laying the foundation of the Internet we know today.
“We are now witnessing the birth of another networking revolution with 5G, which is poised to be as transformative as the Internet itself. It has been less than a decade since 4G offered us wireless speeds of up to 100 megabits per second – the turning point for many data-heavy technologies like music. In no time at all, LTE Advanced Pro will be able to deliver speeds up to 10 times faster. 5G will build on this to provide network latency in the single digit milliseconds, massive connectivity for IoT and significantly longer batter life. 5G will provide the foundation for software-defined infrastructure and carrier-edge computing and just like 4G – and the Internet before that – it will act as the springboard for an abundance of fledgling technologies, including Virtual Reality, remote-controlled robotics, telemedicine and autonomous vehicles.”
Liam Butler, AVP at SumTotal, a Skillsoft company, commented: “One of the biggest shifts in the business landscape we have seen with the Internet has been the popularity of remote working. Constant, fast and reliable Internet connectivity means people can work from home or other remote locations effectively, without sacrificing quality or productivity. Providing opportunities for remote working has been shown to create a positive working environment and increase productivity, engagement, and satisfaction amongst the workforce.”
Stephen Gailey, Solutions Architect at Exabeam, said: “The Internet has changed the face of the world over the last 50 years. What started with two terminals, each in a university computer science department, has become billions of connected devices globally. We’re now witnessing the birth of the next device boom: the Internet of Things (IoT). Beyond laptops and smartphones, Internet connectivity now includes a wide range of every day objects and industrial assets – from cameras, sensors and monitoring devices to voice assistants like Siri and Echo.
“There is, of course, a security cost associated with this. Modern software development techniques are a rich source of future security bugs. As people continue to connect their household devices to the Internet, you can expect to see some significant privacy breaches over the coming years. We need to be thinking about this now, particularly as organisations lacking the skills or experience to build such products jump onto the IoT bandwagon.”
Garry McCracken, VP Technology at WinMagic, commented: “The Internet was one of the main drivers for the need for encryption. Widespread access and use of the Internet, first for commercial transactions and then social networking, meant data was suddenly put at risk.
“After a competition run by the US National Security Agency, the commercial world settled on Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) for bulk encryption for the Internet. However, all that data in motion travelling around on the Internet eventually comes to rest on a laptop, phone, server or in the cloud, so the need to protect data at rest has grown too. FDE (Full Disk Encryption) with AES is now pretty much standard for protecting data at rest, but even that is not the full story. The cloud – born out of the Internet – is allowing your data to be processed on other people’s computers. That makes data ‘in use’ the next big problem to solve in the coming years.”
Neil Barton, CTO at WhereScape, said: “This Internet Day, it’s hard to overstate just how far we’ve come since the first early websites. Now, more than just connecting people and computers, the Internet is as much about connecting ‘things’. These ‘things’ are creating a data revolution all on their own and the challenge for IT teams is how to incorporate these new data sources into existing analytics environments and make insights quickly and easily accessible to the business. Due to the sheer volume of connected devices both today and rapidly rising into the future, the only realistic solution is to embrace automation to ingest, transform and deliver real-time data and insight to meet the speed of the business. Data automation can ensure that, regardless of the type of data – streaming or otherwise, businesses will be able to absorb the astronomical volume of data on the horizon and be in a position to leverage its insights quickly.”
Neil Stobart, VP Systems Engineering at Cloudian, said: “On October 29, 1969, the first ever message was sent using an Internet connection – the letters ‘L’ and ‘O’ of ‘login’, before the connection crashed. This was the first bit of data ever sent over a long distance computer network – and we’ve come a long way since. Data is, arguably, the most important asset to a business in this day and age, and organisations now produce vast amounts of data on a daily basis.
“These advancements demand new data storage solutions to help accommodate not only the vast amount of data being produced, but also the real-time, instantaneous access needed to simulate thought and the search capacity required to make sense of vast information stores.”
Jon Lucas, Co-Director at Hyve Managed Hosting, said: “Since the first ever data transmission over the Internet in 1969, it’s hard to find any other recent invention that has had such a monumental impact on humankind. But in today’s digital environment, unfortunately the security of our systems – both personal and business – is at stake. If we consider that in the first half of 2018 alone the equivalent of nearly 300 records were stolen or exposed every second, it’s critical that business leaders look carefully at their cybersecurity priorities. Unless better protection against cyberattacks is established and implemented, our personal and business digital worlds could be facing a major catastrophe in the near future.
“In such fast-moving Internet times, procrastination can be a company’s worst enemy, which is why businesses need to be constantly proactive. The benefit of having a managed hosting provider running a website is that it’s responsible for maintaining the security and therefore the site owner can focus on the functionality and the user experience, rather than worrying about cyberthreats.”
Steve Blow, Technology Evangelist at Zerto, said: “The Internet is a wonderful creation, but it is notorious for its outages. Even the very first data transmission back in 1969 was cut short by the connection between the terminals failing. While it was understandable that on this first try the Internet didn’t work flawlessly, today it’s a completely different story. Customers need constant access to websites and when Netflix buffers it feels like the world might end. In these situations, it is often forgotten that the cause can be the underlying IT infrastructure supporting the website and from a business point of view, an outage can cause serious damage.
“A key part of making sure that the applications, data and ultimately, the Internet is always available, is having a plan in place to ensure its resilience at all times. From the continuous protection of data, to the ability to move applications to ensure availability planning ahead, organisations are able to buck the trend of the first data transmission and the scathing headlines about downtime for constant availability. Essentially, if a business relies on the Internet, it’s going to need an IT resilience plan.”
Bob Davis, CMO at Plutora, commented: “As we reflect on Internet Day, it occurs to me that the core challenges that plagued the early days of the Internet are problems that still persist today. Program code has always suffered glitches, software continues to crash and certain technologies outpace others, throwing systems out of balance.
“Take software bugs – today we see businesses succeed and fail based on how well their complex software functions. Every company today is a software company. They all rely on software to remain competitive and the software that they run on needs to be as bug-free as possible to avoid costly downtime. With the Internet now one of the most consequential inventions across every industry, the top responsibility of business leaders is ensuring that their software is in good shape to avoid shutting down, disappointing customers and becoming a historical footnote.”