Challenging decade for digital infrastructure

Telehouse research finds 95% of IT decision-makers believe digital infrastructure is a business risk.

In the face of rapidly increasing data volumes, relentless cyber threats, a critical shortage of skills, and the intricate demands of regulatory compliance, a startling 95% of businesses perceive their digital infrastructure as a risk to their operations.

The findings form part of a new report titled ‘Vision 2030: Overcoming your digital infrastructure connectivity challenges and requirements’, from Telehouse International Corporation of Europe, a leading global data centre service provider.

250 UK IT decision-makers were surveyed to gauge their opinions on the digital infrastructure challenges and opportunities they are likely to face over the coming decade.

Data Deluge and Infrastructure Needs

Looking ahead to 2030, a resounding nine-in-ten (89%) of respondents anticipate the need for high-density, high-performance computer systems to harness the massive volumes of data generated by the IoT, widespread AI adoption, machine learning, advanced data analytics, and the expansion of cloud-based remote work. Moreover, 75% of organisations expect their data management responsibilities to increase significantly.

Data Vulnerability Looms Large

Highlighting the growing apprehension among IT professionals, a significant 42% of respondents pinpointed software as the most vulnerable aspect of their digital infrastructure over the next decade. This finding underscores the urgency for organisations to bolster their software defences.

Preparedness Gap: The IoT and Edge Computing Challenge

The survey exposed a readiness gap, with more than half (55%) of respondents acknowledging their partial readiness to grapple with the challenges posed by emerging technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) and edge computing. 11% of organisations admitted to having limited capabilities, a shortcoming that could significantly hamper their growth and competitiveness if not promptly addressed.

Skills Shortage Persists

The scarcity of IT skills remains a pressing issue, particularly regarding emerging technologies. Nearly a third (29%) of decision-makers identified artificial intelligence (AI) as the area where their organisation faces the most significant skills deficit. Meanwhile, 20% identified a shortage of cloud-related skills, and 14% expressed concerns about security expertise. To bridge this skills gap, 35% of organisations have initiated internal training programs focusing on AI, edge computing, and cyber security.

AI Integration and Security Concerns

The research also highlighted a shifting landscape of challenges for IT decision-makers. Since Telehouse’s 2020 research, the percentage of senior IT professionals foreseeing the integration of AI and analytics as their most significant infrastructure challenge has grown from 23% to 33%. Notably, cyber security emerged as a prominent source of anxiety, with 33% expressing that cyber-attacks are their top concern regarding downtime. This anxiety is exacerbated by the evolving landscape of regulations and compliance standards.

Colocation on the Rise

As the complexities of security and compliance intensify, 54% of organisations are opting for colocation services over on-premises IT infrastructure. This represents a notable increase from the 33% reported in Telehouse's 2020 research.

Investment and Partnerships: The Path Forward

Amid these challenges, 61% of respondents plan to increase their investment in data centre infrastructure over the next decade, while 33% expect investment levels to remain steady. Additionally, one-fifth of organisations are exploring commercial relationships with colocation providers to bolster their connectivity capabilities in the face of the impending data deluge.

Mark Pestridge, Executive Vice President & General Manager of Telehouse Europe commented, "Our research underscores the formidable digital infrastructure challenges that organisations are grappling with as they navigate emerging technologies amidst a persistent shortage of specialised IT skills and mounting concerns about cyber risks, downtime, and regulatory compliance. The exponential growth of data and the growing demand for digital connectivity make it imperative for businesses to adopt robust models and establish the right partnerships to harness connectivity opportunities."

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