The IT industry witnessed many changes in 2018 which are set to further expand, and significantly shape the sector in 2019. From a security standpoint, threats and ransomware are gaining strength and proving increasingly difficult for organisations to manage. The IT sector has also evolved the way it outsources skills and tasks, and has transformed its hiring processes. 2019 is likely to be a significant year of change, progress, and important decision-making for businesses with regard to technology and cybersecurity.
Here are five of the key trends that are set to shape the sector in 2019:
Ransomware remains a serious threat. It’s not going anywhere; in fact it’s getting worse. We have seen countless new strains born and have also seen a live working of ransomcloud; a type of ransomware able to encrypt Office 365 software. This means organisations are likely to experience more targeted attacks, with more information available for hackers to steal.
2. IoT as a security business model
Recently, the Internet of Things (IoT) has grown significantly. Most, if not all devices in an organisation are directly connected to the internet, and hackers can use these connections to break into networks if they are not secured properly. Organisations need to remember that an array of connected devices, beyond phones and computers, are possible gateways into the network. As more devices become network-connected, businesses relying on or leveraging IoT devices must be prepare and protect all traditional and non-traditional connections to the internet to ensure system security is maximised.
3. Outsourcing IT
In 2018, many companies outsourced IT-related functions. Outsourcing IT is increasingly mandated by CFOs and IT managers, because it helps organisations access quality IT and security skills and knowledge that aren’t available in-house. Maintaining a state-of-the-art IT and security team is unrealistic for many organisations, and IT managers can struggle to keep up with the pace of technological and security change. Organisations should consider employing external specialists, particularly since the speed of change and innovation is happening so rapidly. Skills in security, IoT, artificial intelligence (AI), and emerging technologies will be in high demand.
4. AI and machine learning
AI and its subset, machine learning, are playing increasing roles in business decision-making. While predictive analytics can help organisations structure effective campaigns and predict consumer purchasing patterns, they can also prove highly effective in improving IT security. Machine learning technology can collect data from millions of devices and analyse patterns to develop a security forecast for companies. Rather than reacting to IT issues and security threats when or after they happen, predictive analytics help organisations prepare for potential security threats in advance. Gaining a proactive stance against threats through predictive analytics is likely to become a widely-used mechanism for organisations to manage security.
5. Transformed hiring practices
Last year, organisations were abuzz with research claiming Australian IT businesses were struggling to fill open roles with new talent. Parts of the IT sector have acknowledged the industry’s traditional and rigid loyalty to solely hiring employees with university degrees. This has prompted growing number of industry members and organisations to begin valuing university alternatives, including IT and technology certifications, previous work experience and training, and independent skills.
The IT industry needs to become more inclusive and diverse, and accept entrants from a variety of education backgrounds. As some parts of the IT sector relax the prerequisites attached to their hiring processes, the industry is likely to gain quality talent with new skills and fresh ways of thinking, which will help address the skills gap.
New technologies, security risks, and cultural challenges are sweeping through organisations and IT teams, prompting exciting changes. Technology moves quickly, so the industry needs to keep up. 2019 will bring ongoing change in the IT sector, as businesses adopt emerging technologies, professionals accept outsourced tasks, and managers revise their staffing principles.
James Bergl is sales director, Australia/New Zealand, Datto and an executive council member ANZ, CompTIA.