This was the year of the corporate cyberattack. There was the JPMorgan Chase credit card hack that affected around 80 million U.S. households, the Home Depot breach that saw hundreds of millions of customer records stolen and who can forget the celebrity iCloud hack that released hundreds of questionable photos of A-list celebrities? Most recently, the impact of nation-state hacking has been felt anew with revelations that North Korea may (or may not) be responsible for determining what movies you and I can see this holiday season. Cyberattacks are certainly nothing new, but this year showed us how massive and crippling they can truly be – both for a company’s pocketbook and its public persona.
There, perhaps, isn’t a more contentious issue in telecom today than net neutrality, and in 2014, the debate reached fever pitch. Net neutrality, for the unfamiliar, is the idea that ISPs should treat all data on the Internet equally, and provide for a free and open Internet. That means they can’t discriminate, or slow down speeds by end user, the type of content, website, platform, etc. In January, a federal appeals court threw out the FCC’s rules on net neutrality, and since then, the FCC has been working toward a new set of rules. That has set in motion a flurry of activity from both the ISPs and tech companies (including Level 3): ISPs say net neutrality is bad because it gives the government more power over the Internet and that little regulation has worked fine until now; proponents of net neutrality say keeping the Internet open promotes innovation, adds competitiveness to the market and ensures no cable or phone company can serve as a gatekeeper over what you can see or do online. President Obama recently came out in support of net neutrality, adding an entirely new political dimension to the conversation. Certainly, the FCC’s new regulations are much-anticipated in 2015.
Just when you think telecom had too many acronyms, SDN and NFV charged onto the scene. While they’ve both been around for a while, these networking technologies didn’t take hold until 2014, which saw more and more companies moving their business functions to the Cloud. SDN, or software-defined networking, involves decoupling the control and forward planes and creating a centralized software-based controller – allowing manipulation of the network on a real-time basis. SDN is a key enabling technology for NFV, or network functions virtualization, which is aimed at replacing dedicated network appliances with software running on standard servers. In a nutshell, SDN and NFV are all about creating a more agile, lower cost network infrastructure. Look for 2015 to be the year SDN and NFV go mainstream.0