Browse Definitions :

future proofing

Future proofing is the attempt to make something impervious to the challenges that it is likely to encounter as time passes. The attempt may be on the part of a product, a system or an organization, among many other possibilities, and the challenges may fall into the categories of known knowns, known unknowns, unknown knowns and unknown unknowns.

Some examples of future proofing:

The internet of things (IoT) is creating an enormous expansion of data related to smart devices connecting to networks. That market is forecast to grow from 15.4 billion devices (as of 2015) to 75.4 billion by 2025. More and more devices and systems, including mission-critical systems, will require reliable networks supplying adequate bandwidth for their purposes. The future need for infrastructure and bandwidth is a mostly known known – it’s known that they will be required and experts can make projections about how much of each will be required, and how soon. Although future proofing in this case may be a complex task, those involved in preparing for it have targets and plans for their fulfillment.

Known unknowns can create challenges for future proofing a network. It’s known, or at least safe to assume, that networks will have to support more applications with various requirements in the future. What those applications will be like and what they will require are unknown. To future proof a network in that context may require ensuring flexibility across multiple frequencies, improving coverage and capacity, enhancing connectivity and ensuring the ability to respond to unknown requirements.

Future proofing in light of unknown knowns is a little less daunting. It might involve, for example, having employees with valuable expertise and knowledge but perhaps not being aware of the potential value or even its existence. To realize that value, and have it accessible when it will be to the most benefit, management should seek to ensure that all employees have the opportunity to discuss and demonstrate their particular skill sets and areas of expertise.

The trickiest aspect of future proofing is dealing with unknown unknowns – completely unforeseeable events and circumstances. In project management, disaster recovery planning and security, for example, an unknown unknown is not only an unidentified risk but an unidentifiable risk. Given sufficient time, completely unpredictable events and outcomes are almost certain to occur, and these could have a significant impact on an organization. The best efforts at future proofing, in this case, consist of reserving contingency resources to respond to such situations, and hoping they are adequate.

This was last updated in September 2019

Continue Reading About future proofing

  • pure risk

    Pure risk refers to risks that are beyond human control and result in a loss or no loss with no possibility of financial gain.

  • risk reporting

    Risk reporting is a method of identifying risks tied to or potentially impacting an organization's business processes.

  • risk avoidance

    Risk avoidance is the elimination of hazards, activities and exposures that can negatively affect an organization and its assets.

  • script kiddie

    Script kiddie is a derogative term that computer hackers coined to refer to immature, but often just as dangerous, exploiters of ...

  • cipher

    In cryptography, a cipher is an algorithm for encrypting and decrypting data.

  • What is risk analysis?

    Risk analysis is the process of identifying and analyzing potential issues that could negatively impact key business initiatives ...

  • What is risk mitigation?

    Risk mitigation is a strategy to prepare for and lessen the effects of threats faced by a business.

  • fault-tolerant

    Fault-tolerant technology is a capability of a computer system, electronic system or network to deliver uninterrupted service, ...

  • synchronous replication

    Synchronous replication is the process of copying data over a storage area network, local area network or wide area network so ...

  • gigabyte (GB)

    A gigabyte (GB) -- pronounced with two hard Gs -- is a unit of data storage capacity that is roughly equivalent to 1 billion ...

  • MRAM (magnetoresistive random access memory)

    MRAM (magnetoresistive random access memory) is a method of storing data bits using magnetic states instead of the electrical ...

  • storage volume

    A storage volume is an identifiable unit of data storage. It can be a removable hard disk, but it does not have to be a unit that...