Throughout the 2010s, the UK has faced a thick fog of uncertainty. The decade has seen four general elections take place, as well as the momentous 2016 EU Referendum; such events have caused even the most experienced business leaders to feel less than confident.
However, the results of the December 2019 general election suggest that stability could be on the horizon. Regardless of one’s political leanings, many will view the Conservative Party’s overwhelming majority as a welcome break in Westminster’s political deadlock. Indeed, we are already seeing breaks in the deadlock, with the Brexit Bill finally being passed through the House of Commons on 9th January 2020. Whilst we now wait for the bill to be passed by the House of Lords, the fact it swiftly made its way through the Commons has already increased the likelihood of the UK leaving the EU by January 31st 2020. Such activities have enabled businesses to plan future activities with greater confidence. However, despite greater certainty, one industry in particular remains concerned about the impact of Brexit on its future growth; the tech industry. So, it is vital that we get to the bottom of its concerns.
We’ve all heard the scare stories -- it’s only a matter of time before artificial intelligence will destroy millions of professionals’ livelihoods. Given the media frenzy accompanying the rapid advancements of artificial intelligence (AI), it’s not surprising that many people hold such a view. And while there is some truth to these dystopian predictions, they’re not as apocalyptic as they’re often made out to be.
Let’s start with some concrete research to shed a light on what professionals can expect in the coming months and years. In 2018, the World Economic Forum released a report suggesting that 75 million jobs may be displaced globally by a shift in the division of labor between humans and machines in the next five years. It goes on to say that, at the same time, 133 million new roles may emerge that are more adapted to this division. This insinuates that we could see the creation of 58 million new jobs in just half a decade. What it also suggests is that, perhaps we’re asking the wrong questions. Instead of worrying about robots taking over our jobs, we should instead be considering how AI might reshape the workforce -- and how we can adapt.
Companies are increasingly leveraging digital solutions to their advantage. 44 percent of businesses have already adopted a digital-first strategy in their operations. As part of this widespread digital transformation, organizations have to reskill and upskill their employees and ensure that their staff are capable of maximizing their technology investments.
Companies are already spending significant sums on the necessary employee training. In 2018, large enterprises spent an average of $19.7 million for learning and development which included instructor-led classroom training, online training, and training-outsourcing.
One of the most notable trends of the 2010s was an increase in data breaches. The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse maintains a chronological database of data breaches that stretches back to 2005. Hacks and cybersecurity threats were an issue for companies and organizations even in the 1980s and the 1990s, but a simple scroll through that database will show how much more frequent data breaches have become within the past ten years. Since 2009 or 2010, notable data breaches have occurred virtually every day.
Why are these threats on the rise? One factor is that people are living more of their lives online. Between social media, online shopping, and the growing segment of the workforce that conducts most or all of its business on the internet, there are more targets for hackers and cybercriminals than ever before. This infographic shows how dramatically the production of global data has grown even in the past five years. With so much data out there, it stands to reason that cybercrime is becoming a more significant enterprise. It’s easy to imagine the culprits behind data breaches as keyboard warriors sitting alone in dark rooms, wreaking havoc from afar. What many people don’t recognize: the threat could be coming from the cubicle next door.
So far this century, one tech startup after another has reshaped the way that we live. Facebook transformed social interaction. Uber changed how we get around. Tinder changed how we date. While these companies have been highly forward-thinking, they have also persistently struggled to solve crucial challenges regarding background checks and user safety.
2019 brought many of these issues into the limelight. Here are four of the most surprising things we learned about startups and sexual offenses in 2019.
There have been a lot of "media moves" in the mobile world recently, including the launch of Facebook News, Samsung’s "rebrand" of Bixby Home to Samsung Daily and more that demonstrate the battle for consumer attention on mobile devices is quickly heating up.
But Apple’s moves in both hardware, software, and media put them far ahead in making frictionless, seamless, and integrated media experiences. Apple’s hardware and software (already in the hands of millions) extends from the watch and the phone to the tablet and TV enabling cross-device media integrations (e.g., recommendations, control, etc.) that will transform the media landscape. Additionally, Apple already owns or has partnerships with streaming video, news publishers, game makers, and more, giving them the power, scale, and reach to dominate media.
Many predictions that we saw around artificial intelligence (AI) for 2019 leaned towards one extreme or the other -- ranging from the notion that AI will no longer be a thing to the idea that it’ll realize its full potential and completely change how industries work at a fundamental level. Advancing AI is going to be an incremental process and it’s unrealistic to think that the world will suddenly abandon it completely or exponentially accelerate its development in that area.
But in the security industry, we have still seen progress surrounding AI, as we’ve gotten better at using machine learning technology to identify and recognize behaviors to identify security anomalies. In most cases, security technology can now correlate the anomalous behavior with threat intelligence and contextual data from other systems. It can also leverage automated investigative actions to provide an analyst with a strong picture of something being bad or not with minimal human intervention.
Email is suffering an identity crisis. Email’s core protocols make no provisions for authenticating the identities of senders, which has resulted in a worldwide spearphishing and impersonation epidemic, leading to billions of dollars in monetary losses, security mitigation costs, and brand damage. As a result, email security will be a central theme in the new year, both as a source of threats as well as an increasingly urgent issue for cybersecurity professionals to address.
In 2020, we will see email security prove itself to be a weak link in election security as well as corporate security. At the same time, Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance (DMARC) will gain popularity across several industries, driven both by the need to eliminate domain spoofing, and by the desire for brands to take advantage of Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI), a new standard that requires DMARC. Email authentication works -- but it’s up to domain owners to take advantage of it. Increasingly they will do so, as they realize that a failure to proactively defend their domains can leave them vulnerable to convincing exploits from cybercriminals.
As we enter the new year, the criticality of securing sensitive data will continue to mold and transform the structure of security strategies across enterprises, resulting in a heightened focus on access control and data-centric investments. With numerous data privacy regulations on the horizon, the cost of data breaches will be more catastrophic for businesses. In 2020, enterprises must invest in proactive strategies that combat the dynamic threats targeting an organization’s most sensitive data.
Enterprises can expect the trend of increased data breaches in ERP (Enterprise resource planning) systems to continue to rise in 2020
Not too long ago, information security was a human scale issue. Because the number of assets to compromise was contained, and because there were only a few attack vectors in the adversarial arsenal, enterprises were able to train security analysts to identify and mitigate threats and vulnerabilities.
Managed endpoints, internal applications, routers, switches, DNS servers and domain controllers compromised the majority of an enterprise’s network presence. In today’s world, mobile devices, cloud applications, IoT, and third party connections to vendors have dramatically grown the enterprise digital footprint. Additionally, adversaries were not nearly as sophisticated as they are today, leveraging only a small fraction of modern day attack vectors. Today’s threat actors have a much larger arsenal of attack vectors to use, including newly discovered vulnerabilities, misconfigured cloud services, and more services and applications exposed to the internet.
Advanced persistent threats (APTs) have become aggressive in their attempts to breach organizations’ networks. These malicious actors look to gain unauthorized access to infrastructures for prolonged periods of time so that they can perform various acts including mining and stealing sensitive data. Their ability to evade conventional security measures have allowed them to cause costly data breaches against many businesses.
Hackers have even found ways to intensify their malicious activities. According to an Accenture report, threat actors and groups have now teamed up to conduct targeted intrusions and spread malware. Among them are financially motivated groups such as the Cobalt Group and Contract Crew. These increasing cyberattack threats have prompted companies to toughen up their security. Gartner estimates that security spending will grow to $170.4 billion in 2022.
Multi-cloud environments have been a hot topic for the last year. Already, businesses have been realizing the benefits of a vendor-agnostic approach, which not only minimizes costs but gives them the freedom to innovate. However, there are a couple of aspects of operations which will be key in ensuring multi-cloud remains viable for enterprises in the long-term.
Despite the freedom which comes with a vendor neutral ecosystem, orchestrators haven’t yet overcome the headache associated with migrating workloads between these different cloud infrastructures. The past year saw major cloud players like IBM making acquisitions to address this, but as yet, they haven’t found a successful solution. Over the next year, this will be a priority for enterprises looking to remove the bottlenecks in their CI/CD pipeline. Organizations will invest in services which can help them harness a multi-cloud ecosystem, by supporting fast deployment, scalability, integration and operational tasks across public and private clouds.
A night on the town brings a feeling like no other. Letting your hair down, dancing with old friends and making new friends as you dance the night away. From alternative and underground to the VIP and luxury, there was something for everyone.
But it seems something has changed. In 2018, The Guardian reported that the value of the UK’s nightclub scene had dropped by an estimated £200m in the past five years. People are swapping gin for gyms and martinis for mini golf. So, is the nightclub industry on its way out? With some adapting, evolving and a heavy helping of tech, it’s possible that we’re seeing nightclubs claw back their popularity. Gone are the days of cheap pints and sticky floors. Nowadays people want uniqueness, something that’s worthy of uploading to Instagram, and something entirely experiential.
Open source software’s hold on the IT sector has deepened in the last five years. An estimated 96 percent of applications use open source components, and big players like Microsoft, IBM and even the U.S. government now embrace open source projects for their software needs. But while open source has transformed organizations’ ability to use proven and maintained code in the development of new software, it’s not untouchable in terms of security. Using code that’s readable by anyone brings risks -- and issues have occurred in the past.
It’s true that open source makes security efforts more transparent since it’s happening out in the open. If there are flaws in the code, they’re often resolved quickly by committed members of the open source community. Additionally, many open source projects have security scans built into their build processes, so contributions that introduce vulnerabilities directly or through dependencies are few and far between. But leaving the code in the open also allows bad actors to write attacks specific to unpatched vulnerabilities or to unrealized vulnerabilities in libraries that products actively depend on. As a result, teams using open source need to take steps to remain secure.
Predicting everything that will happen in 2020 is an impossible task, however, the foundation has been laid for two security events to occur. First, all signs point towards the enactment of a federal data privacy law. The fact that the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is slated to be enacted on January 1, 2020; shows that the US is starting to take a more steadfast approach to consumer privacy. However, if every state were to enact their own laws, then organizations that operate within the US would have to navigate through 50 different mandates. One unified, federal regulation would make it far more seamless for businesses to continue operations, all while remaining compliant.
Second, it is likely that we will see foreign meddling occur in the 2020 US presidential election. This occurred in 2016, and there have already been reports of foreign entities attempting to interfere with US government agencies. In fact, the state of Ohio recently thwarted an attack from a Russian-backed organization on its voting systems. Let’s dive more into these predictions below.