Top IT trends to watch in 2016

Blog written for Aztech IT Solutions, appeared here:

At the start of the new year, Aztech IT Solutions takes a look at some of the major IT trends we expect to see during 2016.

1. Disaster recovery in the cloud
According to analysts at IDC, 80 per cent of small businesses have experienced downtime or loss of data – due to employee error, power outages, flood, fire and other unexpected events – at some point in their operations. Every minute counts in this scenario. For example, it is estimated that downtime costs a business between £137 and $427 per minute! Another survey – of IT managers at companies with fewer than 250 employees – performed by Spiceworks found that only 30 per cent of SMEs backup data to the cloud. However, most small and midsize businesses are now waking up to the fact that it is not enough it just backup data onsite and, as a result, 2016 will see a massive increase in companies migrating their backup and disaster recovery (DR) operations to the cloud – whether fully or as a hybrid solution. The benefits are myriad: access to state-of-the-art DR solutions that they otherwise could not afford; reduction in capital and on-going operational costs; 24/7 expert support; access to the provider’s robust and secure infrastructure; and a fixed monthly fee, to name just a few.

2. The Internet of Things (IoT)
It has been said that the IoT offers a business opportunity bigger than that of the Internet itself. According to Gartner, the number of connected devices will grow by 5.5 million every day in 2016 to reach 6.4 billion by the end of the year … and 20.8 billion by 2020. The IoT offers a huge opportunity for any business supplying connected devices and associated services, and is set to become the ‘buzzword’ of 2016. If the IoT is not in your sales pitch, then it should be!

3. Bring-Your-Own-Device
The BYOD phenomenon is well documented, but with the advent of wearables and an increasingly mobile and flexible workforce, this trend is set to accelerate through 2016. Employees increasingly want access to corporate emails, data and apps from their own device of choice, which means that companies will need to rise to the challenge of providing ‘unfamiliar’ devices with access to the corporate network. But the effort is worth it. As well as providing mobility, flexibility and agility, BYOD eliminates the cost of supplying mobile devices for mobile employees, and enables a more productive and happier workforce.

4. Unified communications (UC) and collaboration
The end of last year saw the launch of Microsoft Office 2016, the first version of the ever-popular software suite to be built specifically for mobile and the cloud from the ground up. The new suite includes Office 365 cloud services, Skype for Business, Dynamics, Power BI and, of course, mobile Office apps for iOS and Android, to name just a few, and 2016 will see users of various Office packages, such as Office 365 for Enterprise, gradually migrated to the new version. At the same time, other major players are launching UC and collaboration applications that can be accessed in the cloud. As a result, UC and collaboration tools, particularly those available in the cloud, will continue to be a major trend in 2016.

5. Security in the cloud
The majority of small business owners and IT managers at SMEs list security as one of their biggest challenges. According to a recent survey commissioned by the UK Government, and performed by consultants at PWC, the median number of security breaches experienced by smaller business is four per year. Meaning that almost all small organisations will experience a security breach or challenge at some point. Cloud-based security services provide a comprehensive security solution to SMBs, without any need for on-premise infrastructure. They eliminate the capital outlay and investment required to build a security infrastructure, offer enterprise-grade security at a predictable cost, access to a highly resilient network infrastructure and data centre, and access to IT security specialists, without the outlay of hiring dedicated in-house staff. We expect to see an increasing number of SMEs will migrate their security either to a cloud provider or a managed security services provider in 2016.

At Aztech IT we have advised many enterprises about the Microsoft-based collaboration and productivity tools, managed security services, UC and collaboration tools, and disaster recovery. If you would like further information on any of the technologies outlined above, or would like to discuss your requirements with us, please visit us at