2013 saw a myriad of movements in the IT industry - from rising cyber security tension between nation states, greater awareness and uptake of BYOD (bring your own device) to a wider acceptance of mobile payment.
One of the high points the industry experienced was seeing how smart devices and Web technology reached a level which allows a great amount of work to be done from handheld devices; from basics such as answering emails to more in-depth content creation. The adoption of IP video for a variety of purposes was also another highlight - not just with traditional media businesses but also with the e-Commerce sector. This adoption has also spread across workforce training, driven by demand for an enriched (better quality and faster speed) experience.
The high profile security breaches we saw this year have emphasized the lack of awareness by many companies about cyber-security risks. They do not think that cyber-attacks will happen to them considering the size of their company, industry or maybe even the country they are in. However, the reality is that we are seeing more attackers targeting valuable revenue streams, in every country and industry.
Businesses cannot prevent attacks but they can defend against them. While there is certainly an increase in the understanding of cyber-attack risks, my observation is that the vast majority of businesses still underestimates these risk and their corresponding losses.
DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attacks will keep growing because they are only getting easier to launch. The tools to build attacks are simpler, easier to gain access to, and the use of cloud platforms make harvesting a substantial amount of compute power with good connectivity trivial. What we are witnessing today is not beyond my predictions. However, seeing the speed at which attack technology has evolved has been amazing. The most sophisticated groups are technically skilled and well-funded enough to adapt quickly to defenses. It is therefore crucial for companies to scale easily to repel large attacks and analyze complex ones.
What Lies Ahead for the Industry
Consumerisation of IT, especially mobile devices was one of the most significant trends this year and will continue in 2014. Devices are becoming too central to people's lives for them to leave it to their employers to make that choice. Employers nevertheless do need better security guarantees. While there are current measures in place to protect the company's infrastructure from the surge in BYOD, I can foresee a future, in which protection will reach a level that will require security measures to be implemented directly to the hardware in in personal devices.
We are already seeing greater signs of IT consumerisation, particularly innovation in wearable computing devices such as Google Glass, smartwatches etc. Apart from consumer usage, I foresee wearable technology to be used widely for emergency strategies and responses such law enforcement, equipment field service, exploration and security in the future.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.