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Embracing the Future: 2024 Technology Trends and Transformations

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Prediction 1: The death of the standalone firewall

With over a third of South Africa’s middle class adopting hybrid work and local IoT use expected to grow by 14 percent annually until 2025, the network perimeter is irreversibly eroded. The standalone firewall is dying, as protecting a good “inside” from a bad “outside” solely through firewalls is no longer viable. Adding more firewalls inside an organization creates complexity, and errors, and hinders rapid business movement. The next-gen firewall appliance is giving way to the secure service edge (SSE) for managing security, incorporating cloud-delivered secure web gateways, cloud access security brokers, and zero-trust network access. Additionally, firewall services are being integrated into access points, switches, SD-WAN gateways, and top-of-rack switches, making next-gen firewalls less prevalent.

Prediction 2: Zero trust principles accelerate the alignment of security and networking objectives

Leading enterprises in South Africa will demonstrate how zero trust principles align networking and security teams to enhance end-user experience and business outcomes in 2024. Traditionally, networking and security teams function separately, but zero-trust architectures will redefine the network’s role as an enforcement layer for security policy. This alignment will be crucial for users accessing applications, and automation, shared visibility, and clear policy delineation will enable both teams to deliver a better experience.

Prediction 3: Measuring end-user experience becomes a must for driving operational excellence

To meet the nuanced expectations of South African consumers, IT organizations will shift to service level objectives (SLOs) and service level agreements (SLAs) based on measured user experience. Digital experience management (DEM) tools will be widely deployed, measuring actual end-user experience and making synthetic probes to ensure infrastructure readiness. This shift aims to focus on user satisfaction, with AIOps using measurements to implement best practices, triage problems, and automatically remediate issues.

Prediction 4: 6GHz Wi-Fi adoption skyrockets – and will continue to be the biggest feature of Wi-Fi 7

With the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa opening up more spectrum for Wi-Fi services in the lower 6GHz band, adoption is set to skyrocket in 2024. The Wi-Fi 6E standard, supporting the 6GHz band, will see broader adoption as the last remaining barriers are resolved, including government approval for outdoor use and interoperability with Wi-Fi 7. The combination of these developments will lead to a significant uptake of the 6GHz spectrum, improving transfer speeds and user experience.

Prediction 5: AI will liberate IT admins

AI and automation will play a crucial role in liberating IT admins, shifting their focus from managing and configuring individual devices to defining policies across entire estates. The increasing workload on IT admins, combined with the need for cybersecurity, will be addressed through AI, which can automatically implement policies and identify anomalies. AI insights drawn from large data sets representing millions of managed devices will enhance IT teams’ capabilities, ensuring they remain competitive in the evolving landscape.

By Mandy Duncan, Aruba Country Manager – South Africa, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company

 

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