Semafone, the leading provider of data security and compliance solutions for contact centres, takes an optimistic view of the outlook for the technology industry in 2019. CEO Tim Critchley, global solutions director Ben Rafferty and head of information security Shane Lewis, share their top tech predictions for this year.
1) Brexit – the voice of the tech sector will prevail
Our view is that the pre-Brexit fog will lift. The UK Government will finally implement a forward-thinking immigration policy that will give tech companies access to the skills they need to grow (come on Mr Javid – you know it makes sense!). Our money is on a 12-month delay to article 50, but we refuse to be downbeat and believe that we will find a way past the current impasse and that the UK tech sector will move on to bigger and better things in 2019.
2) There will be no 4% fine – yet
We’ve seen the number of breaches and incidents being reported to the ICO go up since GDPR, but we’ve got at least another year before we see the full 4% imposed on a major brand. Companies have taken heed of the regulation and are – on the whole – doing all they can to be compliant. In the UK, the ICO will therefore continue to work with brands, using carrot rather than stick. Fines will be imposed, but they won’t be anything like 4% of turnover.
3) Cryptocurrencies will stand their ground
In spite of the widespread jeers at the over-hyping of blockchain and the dramatic descent of the value of Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies aren’t going away any time soon. While Goldman Sachs may have put its digital currency trading plans on ice, it hasn’t scrapped them altogether and our view is that we’ll see cryptocurrencies find their place in society before too long. This may not be the year in which the practical application for Blockchain is finally nailed, but we might just see Bitcoin pull off another bounce.
4) After the CCPA in the US, other states will follow
The California Consumer Privacy Act officially comes into force on 1 January 2020, so we’ll see companies across the pond racing to get to grips with this regulation next year. We’ll also see a number of other states following suit. California is a trend setter when it comes to data protection regulations, so we’ll see other states such as Massachusetts, Illinois and New York looking to draft their own form of the regulation soon.
5) In the race to modernise, vulnerabilities will be exploited
In the increasingly flooded technology market, companies are attempting to get their new solutions on the shelf as quickly as possible to stay competitive. However, in this race to modernise, companies are bypassing security controls and requirements. Glaring vulnerabilities are making these new technologies, such as IoT, a target for hackers, and we’ll see some serious hacking of these devices in 2019. Companies that offer products to consumers without having considered privacy and security by design, means that peoples’ homes will be at risk. With WiFi enabled kettles, heating systems and more with no security, hackers could easily find a way into the network through these devices. DDoS attacks on IoT devices will therefore be increasing even more over the next year.
6) Old hacking techniques will thrive
While new technologies are leaving doors wide open for hackers, 2019 will also see the age-old hacking techniques, such as ransomware and phishing, making serious headway this year. Sadly, it is smaller organisations, armed with fewer resources to protect themselves, that are becoming the prime targets. Even those companies who do perform security awareness training are still seeing 20 per cent of staff fall for basic phishing campaigns, so organisations need to make this a top priority in 2019.
Tim Critchley, CEO, commented: “With so much technological advancement happening so quickly, we’ll see hackers working harder than ever in 2019, using both old and new techniques. However, demand for our services has never been higher and we see so many of our customers now investing in good data practices that we can only be optimistic about the future – ‘security’ seems finally to be on the agenda in the right way for a lot of large and small organisations who are more aware of the dangers. There are new US regulations on the horizon and it’s going to be a great year ahead for the tech sector, so we can expect to see companies putting up a robust defence.”