New year’s resolutions for CIOs

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From security to quantum, AI, edge, cloud, and more, the digital world is changing and expanding faster than ever before. It can be difficult to focus with so much noise. This is something I hear from everyone I meet, and it’s clear that CIOs are feeling the pressure. This year, I will outline four emerging technologies and explain how CIOs can get started today. These are your resolutions for the new year.

1. I won’t use cloud computing without knowing the long-term cost. CIOs have been telling me that their initial enthusiasm to use cloud computing has led to them spending more than they should have. They didn’t think strategically about how to share IT capabilities among different cloud providers, let alone how to make them work together. I recommend that you both assess the technical viability of a workload or placing data in a particular cloud and then fully identify the short-term and long-term costs associated with using that cloud. Knowing upfront what the costs will be, you can target workloads to the right home long-term. This will allow you to evaluate cloud options and identify potential cost savings over time.

2. I will define my zero trust control plane. We’ll continue to see more industries that require zero-trust frameworks such as those established by the U.S. government. These requirements will have a global impact on critical infrastructure industries. So where do we start? To achieve zero trust, you need an authoritative identity management, threat management framework, and policy management framework. If you don’t have an authoritative control plane that covers your multi-cloud environment, how will you be able to ensure consistent identity, policy, and threat management for your entire enterprise? Security in multi-cloud environments is more important than any other aspect. It must be consistent and common. Silos are the enemy to zero-trust security.

3A. I will develop early skills to take advantage quantum. Quantum computing has arrived. If you don’t have someone who understands the technology and how it affects your business, you will be left behind. Start experimenting with quantum computing by identifying the people, tools, and tasks that you will need. We just announced the on-premises Dell Quantum Computing Solution last month, which allows organizations from all industries to take advantage of quantum technology’s accelerated computing. Investing in quantum simulation and enabling your data science and AI teams to learn the new languages and capability of quantum is critical in 2023.

3B. I will identify the quantum-safe cryptography risk areas. Quantum computing has many disruptive effects on modern IT. Quantum computing is causing a lot of disruption. This is why it is important to understand post-quantum cryptography and develop cryptographic systems for classic computers that can prevent quantum computer attacks. Globally, bad actors are actively trying to capture encrypted traffic and archive it on the assumption that sufficiently powerful quantum computer will eventually be capable of decrypting that data.

Want to reduce your risk? You can start by identifying where your greatest risk is, as well as the time frame you are concerned about. This can be done by first cataloguing all your crypto assets, and then identifying the encrypted data most vulnerable to public networks and possible capture. This is where you will need post-quantum encryption. In 2022, NIST selected the first few viable post-quantum algorithms, and in 2023 these tools will start to emerge. Over time they will be needed everywhere, but in 2023, knowing where to use them first is a critical step.

4. I will decide if my multi-cloud edge architecture should be cloud extension or cloud first. In 2023 more of your data and processing will be needed in the real world. Edge is rapidly expanding in the multi-cloud environment. It can be used to process real-time data in factories or to power robot control systems. You will have to decide which edge architecture you want for the long-term in this year’s election.

Option 1 is to consider edges extensions of your clouds. You can have an equivalent edge for every cloud in the common model (for example, GPCP, Azure-ARC or AWS-EKS). This is great if you have only one or a few clouds. Option two is to treat your edge like a platform that allows all your clouds to collaborate. This edge-first architecture, though it is still new, is being developed through efforts like Project Frontier. It allows for a stable shared edge platform that can easily be used by any software-defined edges (for example, Anthos, EKS and IoT apps or data management tools). Multi-cloud edge platforms are still in development, but it is crucial to decide now what your edge will look like in the future. Do you want multiple edges for every cloud service or do you prefer that they all be delivered on a single platform? These four resolutions will help us all be better prepared for the multicloud future. Innovation has never been as pervasive and fast moving as we expect in 2023, which increases the urgency to make forward-looking decisions that will help us navigate the technology stream coming at us.

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This content was produced by Dell. It was not written or approved by the editorial staff of MIT Technology Review.

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