The past 12 months have seen a major shift in our relationship with technology, and this year promises to be just as exciting. Cybersecurity, cryptocurrency and GDPR are just a few of the big topics that will continue to dominate discussions inside and outside of the IT department in the coming year. As the web matures and we spend more time immersed in the digital world, expect to see the following technology trends in the media.
Blockchain technology will penetrate the mainstream
Blockchain technology was first invented in 2008 in the aftermath of the financial crash and delivered the world’s first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin. In essence, the blockchain is a decentralised, distributed ledger that records and confirms every transaction across a network consisting of millions of computers, or nodes. Since its inception, the blockchain has been hailed as the most significant web-based development since the birth of the Internet.
Although bitcoin and the blockchain were associated mainly with criminal gangs operating on the dark web, blockchain enables the efficient and secure capture of value. The distributed design of the ledger makes it almost impossible to manipulate and the fact that no single entity owns it all but removes the threat of corporate or state-sanctioned manipulation.
Growth of IoT devices will mean more threats
The growth in smart speakers such as the Amazon Echo and other smart home devices will significantly increase the threat vector for individuals and businesses alike. The Internet of Things, a network which connects users with traditionally ‘dumb’ appliances such as fridges, heating systems and lightbulbs provides potential hackers with more routes to enter your home or business network.
As with any new device, as soon as you unbox your shiny new IoT device, the first thing to do is change the default username and password to something that is memorable but difficult for a hacker to crack.
Download our free password guide, it has lots of great tips and handy advice on creating secure passwords.
Artificial Intelligence will improve decision making
Artificial Intelligence (AI) will become even more integrated into business software systems, thanks in part to the massive amount of user data generated every day. AI has many applications, many of which you already interact with on a daily basis – Facebook, Twitter, etc. all use AI to tailor the user experience. Enterprise software will increasingly harness the power of AI to assist decision making and streamline operations.
One such example of AI in an enterprise software solution can be found in insider threat detection software, Zonefox. Their innovative machine learning software tracks user behaviour within the company network and builds a profile of that person and their work patterns. In the event a rogue inside actor is up to no good, the software will send a notification to the network admin to warn of unusual behaviour, reducing potential threats.
GDPR will change the relationship business has with customer data
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force in May this year. The GDPR brings a host of fundamental changes to the relationship companies have with customers and their data. The new regulation aims to give EU citizens more control of how their personal data is managed and processed. Organisations will be subject to a raft of new measures to ensure they have the correct data protection measure in place.
Fines for non-compliance are substantial – up to €20 million or 4% of global annual turnover, whichever is greater. Although the governing body (the Information Commissioners Office in the UK) are unlikely to dole out such huge fines, it is worth noting that the brand damage and rectification costs to recover from a significant data leak can be considerable.
If you are worried about the impact, GDPR will have on your business or are looking to begin your GDPR journey, download our GDPR guide.
Business communications will become slicker and more social
Recent trends towards flexible and remote working and a more globalised economy bring a host of communications challenges to growing organisations. The growth of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, among others, has helped fuel the adoption of similar platforms in an enterprise setting. Social communication tools such as Yammer, Slack and Microsoft Teams are helping remote teams communicate and collaborate with minimal setup and monthly pay-as-you-go pricing. Using any one of this new breed of communication tools reduces email clutter and can provide a more focused and efficient working environment.