As we roll into 2023, we’ve rounded up some top technology trends and latest developments in Microsoft’s Cloud Services. We are also sharing some of our own predictions for the upcoming year.
By Richard Blanford
As Microsoft Gold Partners, Azure, Microsoft 365 and Microsoft cybersecurity specialists, where do we think Microsoft is heading? And, what tools are organisations turning to to support growth and future-proof their business? We’ll take a deep dive into Endpoint Management; Intune, Zero-Trust and Microsoft Entra to allow you to factor these into your organisations’ planning to modernise and secure your infrastructure in 2023.
Building your Digital Immune System
We’d like to start by mentioning the Digital Immune System (DIS), as seen in Gartner’s list of top tech trends in 2023. Although not specifically a Microsoft term, it’s an important term for any IT professional to be aware of. The concept is that the advances in AI assisted vulnerability, security and availability scanning, together with software engineering strategies including observability, automation, and extreme testing allows the creation of ‘self-healing systems’ to protect against operational and security risks.
Essentially, a powerful Digital Immune System protects applications and services from security flaws by ensuring applications are more resilient and can recover quickly from any failures.
Gartner predicts that by 2025, organisations will be hugely investing in building their digital immunity, we expect Microsoft and most other vendors to start redefining their capabilities to jump onto this bandwagon as we head into Q1 of 2023.
So what does Microsoft have in store for 2023?
Endpoint Management and Security
Intune is Microsoft’s cloud-based endpoint management solution, with the responsibility of managing user access helping to simplify app and device management across all end user devices – from mobile devices, desktop computers and virtual endpoints.
The tool has become increasingly important in-line with the rise of remote and hybrid working and is increasingly important as part of maintaining good ongoing security for endpoints. Chances are you already have Intune as part of your M365 subscription, it’s part of the E3, E5 and Business Premium subscriptions. If you are not already using it, 2023 would be the perfect time to ask Fordway to help you set it up.
Security is always a top focus for most organisations, which is why in 2023, it will become more important than ever to review your current endpoint security posture, as well as how Microsoft Intune can help to improve your security standing in the next year and years to come.
Microsoft predicts 5 key endpoint management themes for Microsoft Intune in 2023:
- Increasing cloud adoption
Economists might be cautious about confirming any economic growth in Europe and the US in 2023, however cloud adoption growth rates remain strong and is expected to continue to grow significantly, particularly driven by enterprise and legacy application migration. Gartner suggests there will be nearly 30% growth in Infrastructure as a Service and nearly 25% growth in the Platform as a Service adoption compared to 2022. A September 2022 survey of CTOs reflects these findings, as the top answer reveals that 44% of CTOs will increase their use of unified endpoint management tools, an 50% uplift since 2022, with cloud enabled capability top of their wish list.
- Security will remain the top issue for CTOs in 2023.
Unsurprisingly, and as we referenced in the start of this article, security is the top concern for organisations in 2023. Microsoft reveals that 42% of CTOs rated cloud security as their biggest focus, with network security as the second most common response and analytics coming in third place. Microsoft suggests that Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) strengthen their organisation’s defences this year by ensuring security software is suitably integrated with a unified console to reduce vulnerability and allow more automation. The human aspect is often overlooked, security needs people available 24 x 7 to monitor, review and respond to events and alerts the tools uncover – so either an investment in upskilling your staff or contracting specialists such as Fordway to provide this will also be an important move for organisations to consider.
- Worker mobility will increase further
The past few years during and post pandemic has changed the world of work for most of us. 2023 will see several shifts that will add to the hybrid/remote trend. This includes the adoption of 5G capable devices. As estimated by Juniper Research, there will be 600 million more 5G connections available this year alone. Technical advances will be interlinked with demographic trends, such as ‘productivity paranoia’ where workers want to highlight their productivity regardless of their location. New networks and new devices can leave gaps open for attackers. 2023 is the year to protect your workers, whether remote or on-site.
- CTOs will need to pay more attention to local factors
Global and local initiatives are always considered, but in 2023 it may be more difficult to adopt a one-size-fits-all global shortcut. Microsoft reveals that ‘we are seeing an increasing number of national regulations related to data sovereignty, with implications for where that data is stored and secured.’ Whilst this has been driven thus for by Governments and public sector agencies, increasing this is becoming part of legislation for regulated industries such as finance and organisations building, operating and maintaining critical national infrastructure.
Therefore, in 2023 data sovereignty is likely to impact organisations in these industries using cloud to drive digital transformation. As Governments legislate more country-specific security and regulations, CISOs need to review their entire technology system to ensure they are equipped to handle additional local requirements.
- Truly transformative technology will rise to the top
2023 will provide further clarity on the bridge between genuinely transformative technology and tech that has been exaggerated. More advanced forms of automation such as AI is expected to rise further in 2023, with AI start-ups becoming the prime target for venture capital investment since 2020. A large amount of the Microsoft tools, such as Monitor and Sentinel, use AI assisted analysis of the Microsoft Graph database via Log Analytics to identify anomalies, exploits and vulnerabilities.
Security provides a great opportunity for advanced automation and AI in line with the advances in attackers and the variety of security concerns CISOs have to deal with. In Endpoint Management, Gartner reveals that by 2027, UEM and digital employee experience tools will join together to drive autonomous endpoint management and reduce the need for human effort by at least 40%, freeing up time for strategic work for employees.
Zero Trust redefines connectivity and security, improving efficiency and employee experience whilst reducing cost. If not already on your IT improvement road map it should be. For a lot of businesses, cybersecurity is only seriously thought about when an incident or a threat occurs. Zero Trust encourages companies to reassess their approach to cybersecurity and the processes and technology that supports it. It’s three pillars are authentication, security and device management, all core product areas for Microsoft, and if you have a M365 E5 subscription or add E5 Security to E3 you have all the capabilities needed to implement it.
2021 saw the launch of Microsoft Viva – a digital employee-experience platform that brings together essential capabilities and helps teams to communicate more efficiently than ever before. Powered by Microsoft 365, Viva enables employees to hone their skills and develop new ones, whilst giving managers data-driven insights. The internal communications tool also provides a dashboard for resources like company benefits and policies. The portal is also designed to help remote workers who have never had the opportunity to meet their co-workers!
In 2023, Microsoft Viva will continue to thrive as a vital tool for teams to connect, particularly as more and more teams are working flexibly and now rarely meet in person.
Microsoft Entra is an umbrella term for the identity and access technologies which are key for implementing and managing Zero Trust access and security, that have been bought together and are now under one portal.
Entra surpasses traditional identity and access management, forming part of Microsoft’s vision for the future of identity and access. Simplistically it combines Azure Active Directory Plan 2Permissions Management with CIEM (Cloud Infrastructure Entitlement Management) and decentralised identity management.
In December 2022, Microsoft begun rolling out a new Microsoft Entra Admin Centre portal for Microsoft 365 and Azure Active Directory customers. The portal easily navigates to various Microsoft Entra products and leaves room for plenty more Microsoft features to come in 2023.
One of the key constraints to delivering change, business improvement and digital transformation is the lack of suitably skilled and experienced people and teams to help implement new capabilities and drive adoption.
The good news is that you don’t have to do this yourselves; if the above ideas are of interest Fordway have teams to staff skilled in these areas, who are working with these technologies every day and have already successfully implemented them for several of our customers. We also provide manned 24 x 7 operational and security monitoring services so that you don’t have to get out of bed at 3.00am, if you contact us to provide the service, we do this for you!
About the author
Fordway’s founder and Chief Executive, Richard is a visionary technology strategist who has been at the heart of the UK IT industry for the last three decades.
That’s a wrap! We hope we’ve been able to shed some more insight and break down any technical jargon about some of the popular Microsoft tools we’ll be seeing more of in 2023.
If you’d like to find out any more information about how these can align with your strategic objectives, contact our team of Microsoft experts below.