5G, the “edge”, industry apps, malware and clouds: these are the movements that network managers need to know to stay ahead of industry developments.

From 5G to industry apps, and from edge computing to malware and clouds: with Asia being at the forefront of technology development and adoption, the new decade is going to be eventful for IT and network managers in the region dealing with an increasingly elaborate set of industry trends and technology advancements.

EfficientIP, a network security and automation specialist, shares five trends that will shape the technology and the networks industry in the coming year, in Asia and beyond.

“2020 is going to be a year of opportunities for businesses in Asia, but we will also see technological developments that require companies to adapt to the new challenges and adopt new approaches as they push forward their digital transformation agendas,” says Nick Itta, Vice President APAC, EfficientIP.

He continued: “Asia is at the forefront of technology development and adoption, and the trends we envision for 2020 are going to be more relevant here than anywhere else. The edge of the network is becoming increasingly important, and the infrastructure needs to move in that direction.

“The exciting race for 5G is making real progress and approaching the last mile. Clouds have multiplied over the last years and now will become more connected. Also, enterprise industry apps are every day more diffused and that’s a trend that’s just going to grow.

“Finally, malware is becoming more intelligent than ever and old solutions won’t work to keep the networks safe. There is much to look forward to in 2020, but also much to do to simplify and secure our networks.”

Here are more details on the five trends Itta mentioned:

1. Infrastructure will move closer to the “edge”

Increasingly, compute functionality will be managed closer to its source, as well as where it provides value. Known as the “edge”,this trend is driven by increase in software-defined technology.

Given the way technology has taken over our daily lives, in Asia more than anywhere else, low latency for networks and servers will soon be less of an exception and more of an expectation.

As such, traffic routing will need to be optimized to minimize latency and guarantee availability of apps, to enhance user experience (UX). To intelligently direct traffic between users and apps, routing decisions will need to be taken as close as possible to the users, so normally at the network edge. A potential solution would be, therefore, to build load balancing functionality into recursive DNS servers, thus offering Edge DNS Global Server Load Balancing (GSLB).

With the rise of multi-cloud environments, data centers becoming distributed and the increased security risks, Edge DNS GSLB server will enhance UX while strengthening resiliency and improve cost efficiencies with simplified architectures.

2. 5G definition will be finalized

The race for next generation 5G wireless technology is getting every day more intense, and 2020 will see incredible progress in its deployment. Telcos around the world will continue to rollout proof-of-concepts, in anticipation of the 5G launches in 2021. We see this increasingly in Asia, with several already launched in Seoul and China, and soon to be in Singapore.

5G brings complexity for network management, introducing a new set of architecture and technologies: SDN, NFV, SDDC, SD-WAN. This increased complexity means that service providers will need to turn to smart DDI solutions to simplify the network management and manage scalability.

A comprehensive, integrated view across platforms will bring enterprises a long way in managing their resources in the network. In the same way, DNS-DHCP-IPAM (DDI) will need to be integrated to automation processes for managing resources and devices across the network.

In the age of consolidation, an integrated DDI will go some way towards helping telecom providers achieve their goal of “Zero Touch” operations.

3. Clouds will become more connected

Digital services are every day more diffused and therefore need to be able to run anywhere, at any time. According to IDC, by 2022, 70% of companies will have deployed unified hybrid management tools and processes. DDI will have a major role to play for this – for managing IP resources & apps – bringing automated life-cycle management, error-free configurations, policy compliance, and accelerated deployment of apps and services.

IPAM’s central dynamic repository of IP resources can bring cross-platform visibility and a single source of truth available to network management ecosystem players.

4. The adoption of industry apps will explode

Driven by the push for digital transformation, by 2023 there will be over 500 million digital apps, according to IDC. Businesses increasingly turn to apps to improve productivity, efficiency and employee satisfaction. The challenge is that these apps need to be efficiently managed and secured: to do so a centralized app repository, as well as automated deployment and management of the apps, will become vital.

Optimizing load balancing of traffic from users to apps will also be necessary to ensure app availability and provide the best user experience. This type of intelligence can be provided by making use of GSLB built into recursive DNS servers to take traffic routing decisions at the network edge, closest to users.

5. Malware will become more intelligent by using complex communication methods, helped by DGAs

Cybersecurity will remain a top priority throughout 2020, as evidenced by their growing organizational spend. Insider threats are becoming more sophisticated, diverse and powerful and perimeter security is now insufficient for defeating them.

At the core of this increasingly intelligent malwares lays the Domain Generational Algorithm (DGA) – one of the most effective and popular tools in the attackers’ toolbox. A variety of malware families use it to hide the location of their Command & Controls (C&C) servers.

For connecting malware to domains, cybercriminals use DGAs to generate on the fly a large number of non-existent domain names for the C&C server. These prevent known domain names being blocked by proxies. Security based on domain reputation is therefore no longer sufficient to combat this challenge. The effective remedy is analysing queries end-to-end, from the client to the destination. DNS is ideally placed to help, as it sees just about 100% of traffic, and machine learning can contribute advancing this intelligence.