What will be the dominant trends in 2020? Here are what the experts are predicting, from the rise of the DPO to the death of capitalism itself
Jamie Farrelly, VP EMEA Channels at Veritas Technologies
As the IT industry accelerates at a faster rate than ever, the role of the channel partner is shifting. Traditionally, channel partners have aimed to understand customers’ problems and find solutions to reduce risk and complexity while increasing revenues. While this aspect hasn’t changed, the evolving digital business landscape means that customer challenges are changing and, as a result, partners now need to work with a variety of solutions and platforms they haven’t worked with before.
Vendors, too, need to realise that they can no longer exist solely within their own technology bubble and that they are part of a much wider ecosystem. With this realisation comes the need to think beyond their own area of expertise. It’s no longer just about working with partners, but also with other vendors to create ecosystem solutions that solve bigger customer issues. Integration and specialisation mean everything to the modern customer, so working with other vendors is a must. Expect to see more integration and collaboration in the channel in the year ahead.
As we move into 2020 and towards greater integration, the channel’s next big consideration will be to simplify the user experience. There’s already a move towards generalist IT, and this will continue next year. Businesses will want to democratise their IT environments, adding security and backup functions to their existing technology stack, with the confidence that the backend processes and policies are taken care of by specialist technology partners.
The channel is vital to this. It can embrace automation and enable customers to adapt to change by delivering services that are independent and decoupled from the underlying infrastructure or operating system, integrating multiple technologies that are guaranteed to work together through a single user interface.
As partners look to automate processes and become trusted advisors, we will see the emergence of platforms designed to bring together multiple technologies guaranteed to work together. For example, combining security, backup and workload technologies with an automated billing platform based on a partner’s integration capabilities. Channel providers will need to have a very clear plan for the technologies they want to integrate, which will require them to understand a vendor’s roadmap and its integration technologies.
This year is also likely to see more mergers and acquisitions as cloud service providers (CSPs) drive hyper growth. The launch of AWS Outposts will take enterprises by storm and accelerate the move towards a hybrid cloud strategy.
As businesses move more workloads to the cloud, the channel will evolve from simply managing SLAs to offering a more profitable and consultative approach. The channel will be able to use its understanding of an organisation’s business to offer advice on how to secure data in the cloud, move it around to remain agile and generate further insights. All of this will help the channel build more long-term relationships with customers and a bigger role for themselves.
Challenges and opportunities
Jim Lippie, SVP, Channel Development,
Many small businesses are adopting SaaS solutions that generally cut channel providers out. This creates a big challenge for channel players, but also the opportunity to look at how they insert themselves into the SaaS conversation with value added solutions that they can monetise.
Another challenge for the channel in 2020 is to understand where the next emerging security threat is coming from and to work through the crowded market of cybersecurity products and programmes to find the one that offers the best protection. Doing so will also give you an opportunity to discover the best way to monetise threats and to separate out the average hannel company from the extraordinary provider in a highly competitive market.
Channel companies that can adapt to the changing landscape will also find opportunities in consolidation; advances in AI; IoT; and new cybersecurity technologies that allow partners to monetise threats in new ways based upon how SMBs consume applications.
Technologies likely to have the biggest impact on the channel industry in 2020 include SD-WAN technologies that are helping small businesses become more dependent on distributed applications (SaaS apps) to run their business, as opposed to traditional networking solutions.
The rise of the DPO
Frank Krieger, VP Governance, Risk and Compliance, iland
1 As data privacy evolves globally, demand for Data Protection Officers (DPOs) will soar
CCPA and GDPR will drive major demand for DPOs to roll out and enforce global security policies.
2 Brexit will bring big residency issues for UK-based DPOs
DPOs serving European organisations and residing in the UK will be forced to relocate to maintain their role.
3 More rulings will bring clarity to DPO priorities, but consistency will be scarce
DPOs will need to amass country-specific knowledge to advise their regional business units.
4 Ransomware will get worse as hackers get smarter and insurers get stricter
Cybercriminals are getting smarter about who to attack based on their targets’ preparedness to pay.
5 Cyber insurance is poised to spike and be tougher to get
We can expect to see a market correction as insurers implement tighter rules around breaches and ransomware.
6 Demand for audits and certifications will increase
Sophisticated hackers and selective insurance companies will drive greater demand for security audits and certifications.
5G and IoT enlarge attack surface
Karl Sigler, Threat Intelligence Manager, Trustwave SpiderLabs
1 The widespread prevalence of facial recognition used by apps and devices could draw deep fake attacks. We expect to see deep fake videos increasingly used to tarnish the reputations of individuals, particularly politicians as we near the 2020 presidential election. High profile people are most at risk, as deep fakes require abundant available source material (audio and video) to create realistic simulations. Deep fakes are in their infancy and are not yet a credible threat to the general population.
2 Ransomware attacks on cities and governments will continue to grow. A number of successful ransomware attacks targeting large organisations, critical infrastructure, government and cities were conducted in 2019. Coordinated cyberattacks can cripple victims completely, shutting down core services and rendering operations useless. Organisations that are not prepared for such attacks will continue to pay out ransoms in order to avoid downtime and loss of data, which will cause ransomware attacks to grow in 2020 as cybercriminals continue to evolve techniques and coordination strategies.
3 5G adoption will drive hackers to target mobile as a main attack vector. The proliferation of 5G will see more consumers relying on 5G-enabled mobile devices as their sole means of internet access. Alhough mobile-based malware is notoriously difficult to set up and distribute, we’ll start seeing mobile malware piggy-back on social engineering attacks, specifically targeting bank transfers and ecommerce transactions. This social engineering component of phishing emails and text messages will make the malware easier to inject and spread. While 5G has many built-in protections against direct attacks, its wider adoption will further degrade the traditional network perimeter.
4 Dev-security lifecycle becomes the Achilles heel for IoT devices. The huge influx of IoT devices in homes and businesses is enlarging and diversifying the attack surface targeted by criminals. High bandwidth, direct connections to the internet via 5G will increase the threat of Mirai-like botnets. These direct connections will also give attackers the ability to bypass perimeter protections that are normally in place. All manufacturers should add security vetting to their product development lifecycle, especially with the cloud and 5G in mind, to get IoT device security in check before the number of vulnerable devices in the market becomes overwhelming.
5 Magecart and similar attacks will proliferate. The adoption of EMV chip-enabled payment cards and readers have made it much harder for hackers to compromise point-of-sale systems and, as a result, criminals’ use of physical card skimmers and POS malware has decreased. Instead, hackers have shifted their focus to ecommerce platforms, using virtual card skimmers that target online shopping cart platforms to steal payment card data during checkout. The most prolific have been from a group known as Magecart, which target the popular Magento ecommerce platform. The Magecart threat will continue to grow in 2020 and ecommerce organisations that don’t have the resources or security know-how to implement the minimal best practices of PCI compliance are at risk – and are putting their customers at risk. Every organisation that accepts payments, no matter how big or small, should invest in proper security measures including regular vulnerability assessment to keep their customers’ data safe.
Brexit a challenge for supply chain security
Matt Lorentzen, Principle Security Consultant,
The biggest security challenge facing the UK and the wider European community in 2020 is going to be around the supply chain. The perfect moment for an attacker is when an organisation is going through significant change and employees are less able to spot something out of the ordinary because they expect everything to be new and different. As we move towards Brexit, enterprises will find themselves going through a number of changes, including new procedural, technical and auditory requirements. This creates a huge attack surface for attackers to exploit.
As soon as bad actors understand how the various processes within a new supply chain function, it will be easy for them to carry out successful social engineering or phishing attacks, for example sending an urgent email about a change in legislation that requires specific business information to be handed over.
This type of activity will catch larger businesses out just as much as small ones and, because the changes are at a governmental and national level, it won’t be limited to one industry. The attack surface is going to bubble out in all directions.
Generation Z to take ownership of post-digital era
Andrew Filev, Founder and CEO of Wrike Saturation of the workforce by millennial and Generation-Z workers will inspire more offices to adopt university campus-like flexibility, where seating isn’t assigned, teams can self-organise and you’re just as likely to find a worker sprawled across a sofa as at a desk. Employers should embrace this flexibility, which, combined with an increase in mobile working, will save enterprises up to 25% on commercial real estate and energy costs.
Businesses will experience a productivity bump as the digital-native generation grows in the workforce. Generation Z will make up 20% of the workforce in 2020 and this number will increase steadily throughout the decade. This generation is natively comfortable with virtual collaboration and are masters of the social marketing tactics they’ve used their whole lives. Digital transformation was accelerated by millennials, but Generation Z will own the post-digital era.
Automation will continue to eat away at routine tasks next year. As the nature of work transforms, jobs will become more cognitively challenging, boosting the need for creative, empathetic and strategic career skills. Humanities and arts degrees will see 10% growth as storytelling, content and design become increasingly important to brands. STEM will also continue its growth trajectory.
E-learning will become mainstream and even mandatory in some rapidly evolving fields. By 2025, 45% of white-collar employees will have used an e-learning platform to improve their job skills or explore new careers.
Top five technology trends
Felix Gerdes, Director of Digital Innovation Services, Insight UK
1 AI Will Augment Humans, not Replace Them
Despite fears that it will replace human workers, AI and machine learning will increasingly be used to aid and augment them. For instance, customer service workers need to be certain they are giving customers the right advice. AI can analyse complex customer queries with high numbers of variables, then present solutions to the employee – speeding up the process and increasing employee confidence. Over the next three years this trend will keep accelerating, as businesses from banks to manufacturers use AI to support their employees’ decisions and outperform the competition.
2 The Internet of Things will meet the hype
To date, IoT pilot projects have failed to impress – a 2019 McKinsey study shows that 70% of IoT projects never make it past the proof-of-concept phase. However, more organisations have been making the changes necessary to unlock the full potential of their IoT experiments and in 2020 they will begin to see a real return on their investment. We are already seeing more involvement from senior-level executives; clearer, business-oriented goals for projects; and a willingness to adapt organisational structures and procedures better to support IoT and other transformational technologies. With innovation labs that were previously acting independently now more closely integrated with broader IT teams, and other stakeholders across the business engaged with the process, IoT projects will deliver concrete results for the enterprise. Adoption will keep growing over the next three years as more organisations make use of scalable, easy-to-deploy, cloud-based IoT solutions such as Microsoft and BMW’s Open Manufacturing Platform.
3 Keeping up with accelerating technology innovation will increase risk for unprepared businesses
There is a clear line between technology leaders – those who experiment with, sometimes fail, and ultimately learn from new technology – and their competitors. With technology adoption often creating a major differentiator for businesses, more and more enterprises will adopt a fast-follower strategy as they attempt to keep pace with these leaders. This strategy comes with significant risks. Fail to adopt a successful innovation in time, and the organisation will be left behind by more agile competitors. Worse still, adopt a failed innovation too soon and a business that lacks a technology leaders’ experience, agility and ability to learn from and correct mistakes could cripple itself.
4 High costs will stop widespread Blockchain adoption
Evangelists make great claims for blockchain, but it is still a challenge to find viable deployment scenarios. This will not change in 2020. Relatively high infrastructure cost means Blockchain can only deliver value efficiently when there are a high number of both dispersed, participating entities and distributed ledgers. Even if this is overcome, there is still the major challenge of secure integration with existing ERP and logistics management systems. Organisations without the resources and expertise to overcome both of these will have to wait for costs, complexity or both to fall.
For those organisations with the necessary resources and skills, there will be opportunities to put the blockchain to use. For instance, retailers can create a full, audited history of specific products’ origins and supply chain to satisfy the curiosity of increasingly ethically and environmentally sensitive consumers. Similarly, manufacturers can trace components to ensure there are no flaws in a batch and, if any are detected, identify the weak link in the supply chain and either repair or replace it.
5 Technology will support compliance – but also demand data governance
Technology already has a valuable role in supporting compliance. AI, IoT and blockchain can help retailers prove there is no human slavery in their supply chains; help manufacturers ensure workers in their sites are obeying health and safety best practice; and alert financial institutions if employees act unethically.
However it is used, the data technology generates will be of primary importance to enterprises in 2020, for the insight it offers but also because of the need to store, use, share and delete it in accordance with regulations such as GDPR. The growing use of technology will begin to create more data than many organisations can cope with. This will promote company-wide data governance strategies among businesses that are serious about taking advantage of and using the insights available from the data they gather. Since this will be a new area for many organisations, we will see a boom in demand for data governance consultancy services, opening up new opportunities for experts.
Step change in digitalisation
Dave Polton, VP solutions Digital Transformation, Nominet
In 2019 we’ve seen a number of digital transformation projects not fully meeting expectations. In 2020 I expect to see a number of small but significant step changes in the way businesses approach digitalisation projects, particularly with regards to security. The channel will be pivotal in this transition because of its ability to bring together solutions that individually represent marginal gains for the business but collectively have a significant impact on both the bottom line and risk mitigation. Partners will be leading this shift from big, arguably unachievable, projects to smaller, results-driven projects to deliver digital transformation.
The year capitalism starts to crumble
Richard Tang, Founder and Chairman of Zen Internet
2020 will be the last year of the fat cat bonuses that have dominated headlines in recent years. These outrageous bonuses will be on their last legs due to a mass boycott from the younger generation of brands that hand these payments out. Most are no longer willing to stand by and watch the rich get richer at the expense of the poor. With this rise in social causes from young people from across the globe, some of the negative aspects of capitalism such as the focus on short-term profits over long-term happiness of staff and customers, will begin to be scrutinised. Next year, we’ll start to see the first signs of the crumble of capitalism – the negative parts, at least, starting with those bonuses.
IT will run itself while data acquires its own DNA
Jasmit Sagoo, Senior Director, Head of Technology UK&I, Veritas Technologies:
Organisations are already drowning in data, but the flood gates are about to open even wider. IDC predicts that the world’s data will grow to 175 zettabytes over the next five years. With this explosive growth comes increased complexity, making data harder than ever to manage. For many organisations already struggling, the pressure is on. Yet the market will adjust, and over the next few years organisations will exploit machine learning and greater automation to tackle the data deluge.
Machine learning applications are constantly improving when it comes to making predictions and taking actions based on historical trends and patterns. With its number-crunching capabilities, machine learning is the perfect solution for data management. We’ll soon see it accurately predicting outages and, with time, it will be able to automate the resolution of capacity challenges. It could do this, for example, by automatically purchasing cloud storage or re-allocating volumes when it detects a workload nearing capacity.
At the same time, with recent advances in technology, we should also expect to see data becoming more intelligent, selfmanaging and self-protecting. We’ll see a new kind of automation where data is hardwired with a type of digital DNA. This data DNA will not only identify the data but also program it with instructions and policies.
Adding intelligence to data will allow it to understand where it can reside, who can access it, what actions are compliant and even when to delete itself. These processes can then be carried out independently, with data acting like living cells in a human body, carrying out their hardcoded instructions for the good of the business.
With IT increasingly able to manage itself, and data management complexities resolved, what is left for the data leaders of the business? They’ll be freed from the low-value, repetitive tasks of data management and will have more time for decision-making and innovation. In this respect, AI will become an invaluable tool, flagging issues experts may not have considered and giving them options, unmatched visibility and insight into their operations.
The era of the digital reflex
James Harvey, EMEA CTO, Cisco AppDynamics:
Any outage, inconvenience or poor digital customer experience will cost UK businesses dearly in 2020. As we enter a new decade, we also enter the ‘Era of the Digital Reflex’. Our use of digital services and applications has evolved to become an unconscious extension of human behaviour and, in turn, consumer expectations about the performance of applications and digital services have sky-rocketed.
Almost three quarters (74%) of UK consumers are less tolerant of problems with digital services than they were two years ago, and over half switch suppliers when performance issues do occur (according to the recent App Attention Index Report). This highlights just how unforgiving customers have become.
With 5G network transformations in full-swing, next year will see consumer expectations escalate further. Consumers will expect faster download speeds, better video quality and immersive experiences in any location and on any device. Poor performance is no longer acceptable. As businesses develop even more intuitive digital experiences to meet these demands, they must also be ready to deal with the increased back-end application complexity. Application performance monitoring, machine learning and AI are critical solutions in solving this level of complexity. They can give businesses visibility into a performance issue, insight into the root cause of the anomaly and enable them to take immediate action and address performance issues before they impact the customer.
The ‘Era of the Digital Reflex’ will bring great opportunities to brands that invest and innovate in their digital customer experience. For those that fail to do this, 2020 will be a tough year.
The changing face of meetings in 2020
Barco ClickShare identifies five key trends set to change meeting room culture in 2020
1 The end of the generational divide 2020 will finally put to rest the stereotype of the technophobic older generation. In a recent ClickShare survey of 1,509 white collar workers, 74% of people of all ages said they were confident with technology with 86% expressing a preference for meetings that embraced technology in some way.
2 Video and AI technologies to become the standard Employees expect workplace IT to keep pace with consumer technology. Of those surveyed, 77% believe video will be standard in meetings within the next three years; 83% want to see voice recognition in meetings within the next two years; and 81% want video filters (like those available on apps like Instagram) to feature in meetings within the next two years. Nearly one third (30%) want to be able to use hand gestures to control meeting room technology.
3 Employees want a new reality Office workers would like to see further investment in augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). Two thirds of those surveyed want the ability to overlay information onto visual content in real-time using AR technology like that popularised by Pokémon Go. Four out of five (81%) would like to be able to meet within virtual spaces within the next three years.
4 Remote working will continue to proliferate The number of remote workers has more than doubled over the last decade, and this trend is set to accelerate in 2020, with 74% of those surveyed expecting to see an increase in remote attendee-only meetings over the next three years. Already, 53% of meetings involve attendees who join remotely. For remote collaboration to succeed, participants must be able to interact in the same way they would in a face-to-face meeting.
5 Prepare for a Bring Your Own Meeting (BYOM) future As the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend matures, employees expect not only to join meetings from their personal devices, but also to host them using their choice of conferencing solution (Bring Your Own Meeting). Seven out of 10 workers surveyed say they can already choose which conferencing solutions they use. Supporting choice in this area will aid collaboration with contractors, interns and other members of a diverse workforce.