This time last year we made a number of “tech” predictions for the year ahead. In the year that saw President Trump’s inauguration, the UK take its first step towards leaving the EU with the triggering of Article 50 and the Great British Bake off move to Channel 4, we take a look back at tech in 2017 and consider whether our predictions were far off the mark.
Our predictions centred around Big Data and in particular Cloud offerings, Artificial Intelligence and Digital Products. We wondered if some of our predictions were more akin to the story lines of sci-fi movies; however, it soon became evident that technology that was once the preserve of an active imagination is now becoming an everyday reality. For example, consider whether a year or two ago it would have been conceivable that you would have a voice enabled smart speaker “personal assistant” named Alexa in your home? Now, according to a recent report from Juniper Research, 55% of US households will have an Alexa installed in their home by 2022. Our tongue in check question, “What’s next…driverless cars??” edged ever closer to becoming a reality.
Recap on our top 5 predictions for 2017
1. High profile cyber-attacks
Unfortunately, 2017 picked up where 2016 left off with some extremely sophisticated and crippling cyber-attacks. However, even we couldn’t have anticipated the scale of the global cyber-attack that used hacking tools widely believed to have been developed by the US National Secuirty Agency to introduce ransomware known as “Wanna Cry” to systems, which severely impacted the NHS’ infrastructure and affected more than 300,000 computers in 150 countries. And the NHS attack wasn’t the end of it; 2017 saw cyber-attack after cyber-attack and we firmly believe that this is a trend that will continue into 2018 and beyond.
2. The Information Commissioner will continue to flex its muscles
The ICO did indeed continue to flex its muscles as we saw a succession of penalties levied throughout the year. We stand by our prediction that the ICO will take an even tougher stance on businesses failing to comply with their obligations in respect of privacy and data protection once the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect later in 2018.
Already, we have seen a record fine issued by the ICO not even 2 weeks into the new year. Carphone Warehouse was fined £400,000 for a breach of data protection as the company failed to protect customer data collected by its website. Outdated word press software was used which had vulnerabilities compromising the security of customer data. Carphone Warehouse was also penalised for not taking adequate measures in relation to data security. The ICO continues to recommend businesses take a layered approach to data security.
3. Migration to the Cloud
Given the perception that the Cloud is a safer environment than traditional data centers, we anticipated businesses would look to the Cloud for costs savings and efficiencies. Research undertaken by the Cloud Industry Forum during the course of last year has these figures at 88% which is an 83% increase from when the research was first carried out in 2010. Their findings also noted that businesses are adopting a hybrid approach to the Cloud. The main concern with the Cloud still remains around data privacy. Will 2018 see the first sustained and successful cyber-attack on Cloud providers?
4. Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BC&DR)
“BC&DR” and “disaster recovery plan” did not become the buzz words of 2017. However, cyber-attack and cyber-security were, not least due to the sheer number of high profile cyber-attacks, WannaCry, Uber and Equifax to name a few.
We predict that this year’s buzz word will be “blockchain”. Blockchain is a digital ledger in which transactions made in bitcoin or other “cryptocurrencies” are recorded publicly. Again, there are similar issues here to cyber- attack. 58bn yen (£380m) was taken from Coincheck, the bitcoin exchange, earlier this month. This is believed to be the largest cryptocurrency theft to date.
5. The changing legal landscape
Although to date the law has not kept pace with modern technology, 2018 will see the implementation of legislation aimed at aligning the law with modern day technologies with the implementation of the GDPR and the ePrivacy Regulation. Watch this space for more guidance and practical advice as to the implications of the legislation for businesses. The ICO has not yet finalised all of its practice notes and may not do so before the new legislation comes into effect. However, business will be expected to be demonstrably compliant when the legislation takes effect on 25 May 2018. Given the ICO has been on a recruitment drive, increasing the number of enforcement officers, we anticipate the ICO will hit the ground running in terms of its enforcement regime against businesses found to be non-compliant with the new legislation.
Our predictions for 2018
• Emergence of Blockchain platforms offerings as an alternative to traditional cloud platforms.
• Software developers to come under greater scrutiny from customers looking for software security guarantees and reassurances.
• Artificial intelligence and machine learning to become mainstream and the norm in business operations. What next, conversations with bot call handlers? In some industries, this has already arrived!
Whatever 2018 brings, it’s more than likely that this time next year we will continue to be in awe of the inconceivable places that technology continues to take us. Watch this space…