The 20 Most Influential IT Management Posts of 2015

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It’s the end of 2015. And you know what that means.

influential it management posts

A barrage of 2016 IT predictions (including a forthcoming one from this lady), hoping to cast their opinion on the internet of things, the need to increase cybersecurity, or even how IT is changing the executive structure in the corporate world.

And while it’s important to think about the future, it’s also important not to forget about the past.

In the immortal words of Mufasa, “Remember who you are.”

Why?

Because Rafiki had it right: “You can either run from it, or…learn from it.”

So just so you don’t forget what happened in IT in 2015, I’ve compiled the 20 most influential articles about  trending IT topics based on total social media shares according to BuzzSumo. I’ll be summarizing both their content and analyzing why these words (and their ideas) still matter, as well as what these articles mean for IT in 2016

Because you never know how the past can prepare you for your future.

Let’s begin (presented in chronological order).

1. Fake Wi-Fi network fools top Swedish security experts (RT) — Jan. 15

Network security is hard, y’all. Gustav Nipe, a 26-year-old internet activist, managed to trick a barrage of Swedish security and defense experts with an unencrypted Wi-Fi network. Called “Open Guest,” Nipe collected the data of more than 100 delegates, politicians, journalists and security experts, who accessed Skype, eBay, and other non-work sites while at a conference (ie: time when they were on the clock). “The scary part is that with unsecure networks like these you can end up getting access even to secure servers because people so often use the same passwords for different sites,” Nipe stated. “So we could have got into the government’s server or used other information to track people in their everyday lives.” So beware of threats next year, security experts. Everyone can always use a refresher course in computer security.

2. As Cyber Threats Soar, So Do CISO Salaries (WSJ) — Jan. 23

Still as relevant today as it was 11 month ago, this piece shows how CISO salaries continue to skyrocket as companies cash in on this C-suite position to quell consumer security concerns. However, the WSJ’s opinion that these salaries are inflated due to high demand coupled with a talent shortage, indicates that these earnings may settle over time. CISO salaries are expected to continue their rise in the short term, but we’ll have to see if that prediction holds steady in all of 2016.

3. IT is the doctor (Computerworld) — March 12

IT should do more than just prescribe a solution to the problem; it should give the patient what they need, not what they want. In his article, Paul Glen suggests that IT departments need to go beyond what is being requested of them and really find what best serves their company. Going into 2016, with IT’s role becoming more connected to its businesses objectives, IT specialists also need to be advisers, not just problem-solvers. Their input needs to be included on the conversation.

4. Why digital transformation is a make-or-break proposition (CIO) — April 17

“96 percent of business leaders believe new technologies have forever changed the rules of business by democratizing information and rewiring customer expectations,” writes Thor Olavsrud, who outlines the five business attributes needed to serve “digital citizens.” But apart from becoming a truly digital company, Olavsrud also notes the importance of turning data into “useful insights,” something companies will need to make use of considering the staggering amount of data accumulated in just the past 24 months.

5. 3 Options for Securing the IoT Network (Mobile Enterprise) — May 11

The Internet of Things is exciting news and definitely one of the biggest IT topics of 2015. Not only because of its possibilities, but also because of the concerns surrounding security if it’s breached. In their article, Laurie Lamberth and Steve Brumer outline ways you can secure your IoT network so you can make the most of your ‘things’ while wiping away your security worries. From rotating network keys or tokens to low-power operation, Lamberth and Brumer’s article foreshadows the growing implementation of IoT and the burgeoning strategies needed to combat security threats.

6. 5 lessons small IT shops can teach the big guys (Computerworld) — May 13

While massive IT departments and conglomerates appear to be the most innovative and successful, Howard Baldwin demonstrates that small IT teams can teach the big players big things. In this article, Baldwin solicits advice from the leaders of small IT departments, who discuss the benefits of their size. With the growing importance of a business’ IT  team in 2016, efficiency and effectiveness at tackling IT problems and implementing solutions will need to be streamlined, something small departments do well with limited resources.

7. Google just took the lead in the dangerous game called ‘Race To Zero’ (Business Insider) — May 30

Free cloud storage may be great for consumers, but what impact does this have for the very companies that provide it? Julie Bort writes on the “race to zero” and how this game only favors big companies with big budgets. In the coming years, this means that cloud services will need to become cheaper to stay competitive, resulting in an inevitable free product. What does this mean for business models of the future? Similar to how Amazon lures customers with free services and then upsells them on other products they’re  willing to pay for, other companies will have to adopt their model to cover the cost of running these big data centers, which often run in the billions of dollars.

8. Digital Asset Management: Why it’s something you should be doing (The Next Web) — July 17

Some companies don’t give a ‘DAM’ about digital asset management. And it’s a shame, as Jackie Dove proves in this piece by outlining the benefits of having a DAM system. Aside from saving precious moolah, a DAM system can increase revenue by 10% or more for 79% of companies and increase productivity by 10% or more for 97% of companies. Not to mention, having a DAM tool boosts market flexibility. So what does this mean for 2016? In order to keep on top of your growing list of digital assets, implementing a digital asset management solution may be your best bet to saving money and growing faster.

9. Analytics, Cloud Computing Dominate Internet Of Things App Developers’ Plans (Forbes) — July 26

Forbes’ Louis Columbus outlines insights into IoT from a data study conducted by Evans Data Corporation, which included 578 interviews with app developers. In the article, Columbus highlights the connection between cloud computing and IoT, including the fact that developers who see this connection are  “3X more likely to use the Cloud as a development environment.” Not to mention that data and analytics are essential elements of forthcoming IoT apps, with more than 34% of developers spending 50% or more of their time working with databases and analytics. So what does this mean for you? It seems IoT and cloud computing are a 2-in-1 package, meaning that your business may have to make use of both technologies in the future.

10. How 5G will Power the Future Internet of Things (Intel) — Aug. 14

Intel’s IG blog summarizes the goings-on of a developer conference, where Aicha Evans breaks down what 5G means for the technology and communication of the future. “[B]y 2020, when 5G will come online globally, some 50 billion ‘things’ will be connected,” Evans reports that this will make us more connected than ever, but also pose challenges concerning the storage and management of that data in the near future.

11. Windows 10 is the end of cloud-free computing (The Verge) — Aug. 17

Privacy is a major concern for consumers, especially when it comes to personal computers. With the discovery that Microsoft’s Windows 10 was sending back data even after Cortana and OneDrive had been disabled, concerns arose around what this data collection meant for customer privacy. Now left with nowhere to turn, it appears that computer users everywhere will have to resign themselves to the fact that nothing is private, even wishing your grandma a happy birthday. Privacy is sure to become an increasingly volatile topic in 2016, particularly when your information is gathered by simply clicking the “Start” menu.

12. Why Your CISO Should Report to the CEO (ThreatTrack) — Aug. 25

This is another article advocating for CISOs to report directly to CEOs. (How many of these have to be written before this become a corporate standard?) In fact, ThreatTrack found that “55.5% of CISOs report to the CIO, up 10 percentage points from 2014, while 40.5% report to the CEO, down from 47%.” A decrease in communication? Ugh. Their findings suggest the root cause is that “[p]erhaps CEOs prefer a buffer from IT security in case something goes wrong.” It seems that CEOs aren’t grasping how a data breach affects the entire business rather than just the IT team. I can smell more disaster in the year to come.

13. Do boards of directors actually care about cybersecurity? (CSO Online) — Sept. 1

A good question that remains pertinent as more companies suffer from data breaches, this CSO Online article analyzes whether businesses want to make cybersecurity a boardroom issue. Building on a cybercrime survey that reveals “only 42 percent of respondents viewed cybersecurity as a corporate governance issue,” this means that despite a growth of posts advocating for cybersecurity to be taken seriously, it seems that 2016 will continue to be ripe with big data breaches and a lack of communication between boards and C-suite peers.

14. 12 bad habits that slow IT to a crawl (InfoWorld) — Sept. 10

In this post, Bob Lewis breaks down what’s keeping your IT department bottlenecked. While critical, Lewis’ lists of problems reveals the inconvenient truths that plague IT departments. And since IT employees will only face more duties as their role in a business grows, cutting out wasted efforts will lead to happier employees and more objectives accomplished.

15. What will the CISOs of 2020 look like? (CSO Online) — Oct. 7

There’s plenty to learn about 2015 from a trends feature, like the wishful thinking that maybe, just maybe company structure will change and CISOs will finally report directly to CEOs. 2020 is still five/four years away, but as the article suggests, maybe by then companies will have a clear vision of a CISO’s duties and their role within a company.

16. Dell. EMC. HP. Cisco. These Tech Giants Are the Walking Dead (Wired) — Oct. 12

Could it be possible that the biggest names in enterprise computing are dead? Cade Metz thinks so. Here, Metz highlights how cloud technology and open source via Google, Amazon, and Facebook are changing the game, as well as how reliance on mobile devices for browsing the web is making Windows obsolete. So what does this mean for 2016? It means that big names no longer mean big innovation and that to keep up, they are going to have to create storage gear built around flash, or at least acquire a company that does, to compete in the years to come.

17. SPECIAL REPORT: CIOs Say Hybrid Cloud Takes Off (WSJ) — Oct. 20

Cloud computing had a big year in 2015, but the WSJ takes a look at how enterprises are using a hybrid form of cloud computing, which combines public cloud service with private data centers. Growing at a rate of 27%, this method of data storage is clearly becoming a favorite in the world of big businesses, who are reluctant to move private data over to a public cloud. While at a slower rate, it seems that big companies are catching on to the benefits of cloud computing, though remaining cautious of the security challenges it poses.

18. What Cybersecurity Questions Are Boards Asking CISOs? (Security Intelligence) — Oct. 23

In this article, Christophe Veltsos outlines prospective questions CISOs will face from boards and other executives as cybersecurity becomes a larger issue and a bigger concern for companies. Encompassing questions regarding oversight, boardroom presentations, and using questions posed to real-world CISOs, Veltsos’ post will remain relevant for years to come as cybersecurity becomes a major business objective.

19. 17 ‘Internet Of Things’ Facts Everyone Should Read (Forbes) — Oct. 27

Lots of buzz about IoT in 2015, covering both its positive capabilities and its dangers if hacked. Here, Forbes’ Bernard Marr compiles a list of facts, including the startling stat that 87% of people haven’t heard the term “internet of things.” As well as current and past facts, Marr’s list also includes future predictions, such as that the “IoT could generate $4.6 trillion over the next ten years for the public sector, and $14.4 trillion for the private sector.”

20. Why Communication is the Secret to a Successful CSO (Capterra) — Nov. 4

It’s true. I did write this. But it’s more about you than me. You see, after I published this post, it took off, launching discussions in LinkedIn groups, over Twitter, and in the comments section of the article itself. From what I saw, there was a general consensus that better communication is needed in IT and especially for the role of CSO, which is sure to grow in 2016 as major companies are taking CSOs to combat bad publicity.

Thoughts?

Know of an article you think is influential? What do you predict for the future of IT Management in 2016? Let me know in the comments below.

Header by Rachel Wille

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