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Navigating 2024: Transformative Trends Shaping the Tech Landscape

2024 trends
(Credit: Thawatchai Chawong / Alamy Stock Photo)

As we step into 2024, the tech landscape promises transformative shifts that will redefine how businesses operate and secure their distributed networks. Three key trends will define the year ahead: the exponential rise of Network-as-a-Service (NaaS), the imperative for robust cloud security in a cloud-first era, and a collective industry shift towards heightened cybersecurity.

NaaS Takes Center Stage in Enterprise Networks

Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) adoption reaches an inflection point in 2024 as enterprise demand for agile, cloud-like network services explodes. ABI Research predicts that by 2030 more than 90% of enterprises will adopt NaaS for at least 25% of their network services.

NaaS enables companies to consume network resources like bandwidth, security, and edge computing on-demand without building, owning, or maintaining their own infrastructure. By accessing the network "as-a-service" via a standards-based automated ecosystem, enterprises gain the flexibility to rapidly deploy and scale network capabilities on-demand evolving as business needs evolve. Rather than overprovisioning expensive on-premises infrastructure, enterprises pay only for the specific network resources needed at any given time, optimizing costs.

Massive growth of IoT, 5G, and edge workloads will increase pressure to transform rigid networks, driving massive NaaS adoption. The ability of NaaS to align network agility to digital transformation at reduced cost makes it an ideal network consumption model for cloud-era enterprises. The market potential is huge, and 2024 marks the tipping point for this transformation.

Prioritizing Cloud Security in a Cloud-First World

With global cloud spending expected to grow more than 20% in 2024 as more organizations adopt a cloud-first approach, companies need to consider their security strategies. As assets increasingly shift to hybrid and multi-cloud environments, threat actors will look for opportunities to exploit vulnerabilities across interconnected cloud deployments.

To protect cloud investments, organizations should consider Secure Access Service Edge (SASE), converging networking and security into a unified cloud-native platform. By centralizing visibility and control, SASE allows enterprises to connect and govern access across complex hybrid ecosystems from a single pane of glass. Its integrated approach dramatically reduces potential attack surfaces while streamlining management overhead and enables security pros to shift their focus from managing the day-to-day security operations to directing the overall strategy.

The ability to secure distributed users, devices, and networks from anywhere will be imperative as clouds multiply. Organizations should evolve security postures from fragmented security solutions to the centralized visibility and control certified SASE solutions can deliver. With proactive measures and strategic leadership, cloud-delivered security will be key to securing a multi-cloud landscape while allowing innovation to flourish in this rapidly evolving landscape.

The Rise of Collaborative Cybersecurity in a Dynamic Digital Landscape

There is a growing realization among enterprises of the need to prioritize a better understanding of potential cybersecurity threats and the ability to respond effectively. They want to see more clearly into their digital environments, using advanced tools to get deeper insights into possible risks. This trend isn't limited to what's happening inside a company's systems; it's also about sharing information about threats with other businesses in the industry. Collaboration becomes extremely important, with companies working together through forums, advisory boards, and industry councils.

As the digital landscape continues to evolve, the emphasis on visibility and threat intelligence will grow exponentially. Enterprises will invest in cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning to bolster their cybersecurity efforts. The interconnected nature of today's business ecosystems underscores the need for a unified defense strategy. This trend also signifies a departure from traditional isolated security measures towards a holistic, information-sharing model. By fostering a collective defense mindset, businesses are not only protecting their own interests but contributing to a more resilient and secure digital environment for the entire industry.

A Final World on the 2024 Tech Landscape

The 2024 tech landscape may best be described with three words: adapt, collaborate, and secure. The adoption of NaaS, the prioritization of cloud security, and the collective defense against cyber threats are essential components of the modern enterprise and represent a shift in how businesses approach technology. As we navigate the year ahead, paying attention to these trends will ensure organizations are positioned at the forefront of a dynamic digital future.

(Editor’s note: This article is part of our regular series of articles from the industry experts at MEF.)

Pascal Menezes, CTO at MEF, is a seasoned expert with a laser focus on cutting-edge technologies. His areas of expertise encompass SD-WAN, SASE, cloud-scale architectures, real-time media networks, SDN, NFV, and LSO. With a decade at Microsoft Skype for Business Global Carrier Group and a track record of success in five startups, Pascal has earned global thought leadership awards, presented at renowned events, and contributed to industry standards in the IETF, MEF, and Broadband Forum (MPLS), holds 30+ patents. Pascal hosts MEF's Executives at the Edge podcast.

See his collection of Network Computing articles here.