Tom Gorman, Director of Operations, Ireland
While last year saw a slight easing of lockdowns and an optimistic management of the pandemic, its impact on the speed of business transformation continues to remain unchanged. 2022 will see this acceleration in digitalisation further increase. However, factors like sustainability, cyber security, regulation will make many senior leaders and organisations review their steps in how they map out their journey to the cloud, which could impact their future infrastructure strategies, impacting data centres.
So, what else will 2022 bring? Here are some predictions from Interxion.
Prediction 1: Cybersecurity risk will accelerate the move to cloud
The HSE ransomware attack last May, showed just how sophisticated ransomware had become. According to a recent global security report from Microsoft (and from an Irish perspective), 58% of all cyber-attacks in the last twelve months have been perpetrated by Nation States. There is often the assumption that Ireland is excluded from these types of attacks, not anymore. The report also shows that Manufacturing and FSI are the two most targeted industries, both of which have considerable footprints here.
This pressure is further set to increase for organisations as the EU’s NIS directive (NIS II) will enforce stringent rules for reporting cyberattacks for actors that have an essential function in society, including incident notification and precautionary steps such as compliance with certification and cybersecurity response procedures to mitigate the impact of a cyberattack.
But for cloud and infrastructure providers have an opportunity to sell additional services to help their clients be NIS II compliant.
Prediction 2: Data Centres Tackle Sustainability and the Climate Crisis
The data centre industry has taken steps towards more climate-friendly practices in recent years, but operators will join the climate effort more purposefully in 2022. We predict that the sector will actively pursue strategies that can make a real difference in addressing the climate crisis. But we predict the sector undergoing more scrutiny on these efforts in 2022 across the globe.
Prediction 3: Data regulation will make organisations review their cloud data and transformation plans
New and evolving regulations that will come into effect in 2022 will likely add more complexity to organisations’ infrastructure strategies.
- The Digital Services Act: Proposed European Union rules targeting technology companies may seek to change how that they are regulated in the EU country where they are based, with potentially other European countries seeking to grab regulatory power over them. This “country of origin” principle in the Digital Services Act (DSA) draft, could come under pressure to be amended.
- Under the principle, companies including Twitter, Apple, Alphabet unit Google and Facebook are regulated in the Republic of Ireland, with companies with their European headquarters here following Irish law. Likewise, Amazon is subject to Luxembourg’s supervision. Any changes to that principle could bring major complexity to how technology companies manage and store data within in the EU.
- Demands from the Digital Operation Resilience Act (DORA) will see the financial sector having to face additional compliance challenges that they will expect their infrastructure providers to help address.
- The Data Governance act will place broader compliance demands on the sector as organisations will need to demonstrate where their data is domiciled within the EU.
Prediction 4: Energy concerns around data centres will persist
Ireland has seen the issue of data centre power consumption and energy capacity become a household topic. This resulted in the Irish government putting steps in place to mitigate any power outages. We predict that in 2022, more countries will move to address similar concerns. These concerns will be spurred on by apprehension around climate-related extreme weather events, that may influence decisions about building new data centres and telecommunications networks. Other considerations governments may need to address will include their respective grid's reliability and affordability, regional temperatures, the availability of water and renewable and locally generated sustainable energy, and regulations that ration utility power and limit the amount of power available to data centres.
Longer term, we see the sector work very closely with governments and regulatory agencies to address these perceptions and put measures in to place to minimise these concerns.
This will be further driven by the recent EU’s Taxonomy regulation which helps shifting investments where they are most needed by classifying environmentally sustainable economic activities and sectors that play a key role in climate change mitigation and adaptation. Companies will have to publish their first Taxonomy Eligibility Report in 2022. In order to be taxonomy-eligible, an economic activity must contribute substantially to at least one of the six environmental objectives and do no significant harm to the others.
Prediction 5: The Evolving Data Centre
Exponential data growth, increasing complexity and new technology will see organisations integrate more options into their infrastructure strategies. A recent report by Gartner showed that by 2025, 85% of organisations will integrate on-premises, colocation, cloud and edge delivery options. This is a significant increase since 2020, when only 20% were planning this. This will require careful planning, as such a broad mixture of options does increase management complexity when it comes to risk and regulatory management.
This mix will also bring major opportunities for data centre infrastructure providers in 2022, to help their customers navigate and manage this complexity and reposition themselves as partners, versus capacity suppliers.
Prediction 6: Growth in vendors supporting hybrid IT strategies
Larger firms inevitably have a greater reliance on a wider range of vendors and other external supports, but nowadays even small businesses rely on several different vendors to deliver their IT strategies. This is becoming a growing theme as many organisations are using more business applications where IT support is needed. According to recent research by Interxion, the Majority of firms have seen a growth between 11% and 50% in the last year alone.