2023 IT Trends and What to Expect in 2024
2023 was a year that brought many ups and downs, especially in the cybersecurity sector. Regardless of your business growth, you might've felt the heat from a few 2023 trends. Since last year was probably a blur, we're looking back to see what we learned in IT and what to keep in mind as we forge on into 2024. Let this be the year we all grow, adapt, and learn how to finally master AI (oh, and increase your cybersecurity posture).
A couple things are clear, 2023 was a whirlwind year and 2024 will be no different. Let's take a look at where we've been and where we're going so you can better prepare for business success this year.
3 IT Trends from 2023
Sophistication in Artificial Intelligence and Automation
If you've never hear of AI, you're living under a rock. 2023 was the year that Artificial Intelligence (AI) boomed. Sometimes for the right reasons and sometimes for the wrong, but either way, AI took center stage in 2023 innovation.
Unfortunately, the track record for AI's performance in 2023 is more bad than its intended good. While AI can help to automate your business, grow your success, and increase your output, it also contributed to the 2, 814 breaches that occurred and 8, 214, 886, 660 records lost last year, of which just under 40% had some component of Artificial Intelligence contributing to the attack. Furthermore, 80% of cybersecurity decision-makers expected AI to increase the scale and speed of attacks and 66% expected AI “to conduct attacks that no human could conceive of" (CSOonline.com). Add that to the ChatGPT leaks and Texas/Oklahoma medical centers affected by an AI induced threat, it's clear that 2023 only escalated the bell curve that is the future of cyberattacks and cybersecurity.
Unfortunately one of the root causes of this surge in 2023 is the lack of education surrounding AI. Not only is it rapidly innovating, but its everywhere. Google may have only teamed up with OpenAI in January of 2023, but as of March 2023, there are 14,700 AI startups alone. And those are just the newbies! The actual number of current tools which have an AI component are in the staggering hundreds of thousands, from Chatbots to search engines to data analysis and everywhere in between. AI is everywhere and it's not going away any time soon.
If you're not convinced, count how many 2023 cybersecurity statistics from Cobalt.com include Artificial Intelligence.
Increased Breaches Mean Increased Security Measures
We said there were more than 8 billion records were lost and over 2,000 breaches occurred in 2023. Those numbers are up from 2022 where only 422 million records were lost and 1, 802 breaches occurred. This number will only increase. Double the records were lost and just about double the breaches occurred. So we need to be paying attention.
But two types attacks were the most prevalent in 2023. Phishing, which still remains the most prevalent style of cyberattack (check out these statistics for why) but a new(ish) terror took SMBs by storm in 2023: Business Email Compromise. Here are the 3 things about BEC we found to be the most important factors:
- Social Engineering Mastery
In recent cases, we've seen attackers employ psychological manipulation techniques, preying on emotions like urgency, fear, or trust. By exploiting our innate human tendencies, these criminals have successfully coerced employees into divulging sensitive information or initiating unauthorized wire transfers.
- Remote Work Vulnerabilities
The shift towards remote work has introduced new vulnerabilities that BEC and Wire Transfer Fraud actors have eagerly exploited. With employees working from diverse locations and sometimes using personal devices, the traditional security perimeter has become unstable.
- Cryptocurrency's Dark Shadow
Cybercriminals orchestrating these schemes are increasingly turning to cryptocurrencies as a means of obfuscating your hard earned money. Cryptocurrencies provide anonymity and facilitate money laundering, making it challenging for authorities to trace and recover stolen funds.
Hybrid Data Storage is the Most Effective Approach to Keeping Your Information Safe
This is not just a 2023 debate but has been for a few years now: should we migrate completely to the cloud? How safe is on-premise data storage? Should we rely on only one or a bit of both? 2023 proved that a bit of both is the way to go.
According to Kyndryl.com, "Predictions that enterprises would move their entire workloads and data to the cloud have turned out to be overstated — it is clear a hybrid approach is the way to go. The mainframe is alive, modern and remains the only platform that can handle the “failure is not an option” demands of the industries the world depends on every day." Because the push for cloud has been so prevalent in recent years (because it truly is a valuable place to have your data!), the high volume of migrations are leaving gaps in security, leaving some organizations open to a breach.
Having both on-premise and cloud data storage, you not only have a backup in place in case of cyberattacks, but it also protects you from losing files that an employee "accidentally" deletes or a mainframe crash or cloud storage size ceilings.
We recommend the following: Three (3) copies of your data, stored in two (2) separate locations or types of media, with one (1) of those copies being stored offsite. This hybrid model keeps your data protected and backed up securely.
What Businesses should expect from tech in 2024
Here it is, what you came here for. Our predictions for 2024 based on 2023 trends and January's transitioning 2024 trends. We'll keep it simple with a few bullet points to prepare you for the new year.
If you have further questions on how to prepare for these predictions, contact us, we're happy to help clarify how you can best prepare for your best year yet.
Continued Focus on Foundational Cyber Hygiene and Continuously Validate Compliance
- Just because the regulatory landscape may be changing doesn't mean you should risk the corporate liability. Cracking down on compliance standards is going to be paramount this year.
- Insurance carriers cost will continue to rise without the proper IT cyber controls.
- Lean on Microsoft (and other) licenses to derive value from your current investments. Microsoft is going to remain one of the most secure infrastructures to utilize.
- The landscape will continue to evolve, so keep an eye on cybersecurity controls (we can always help with that).
Rise is AI Powered, Backed, and Promoted Products
- It is of paramount importance that you LEARN about these products, not just marvel at them and use them. Educate yourself before you use the shiny new AI tool.
- Data governance will become crucial to your cybersecurity strategy. Regulate who (and what)has access to your information. Do not trust AI to be honorable - it's not a human, it's a machine. And machines can be manipulated.
Cyberthreats will Rise in 2024
- This is directly related to AI powered products. Because there's more automation, and that is NEW automation, there will be holes that you must be vigilant on.
- Corporate compliance rules will be paramount. You need to follow strict compliance rules.
- Rise in social engineering like BEC and Wire Transfer Fraud. 80% of breaches occur from impersonating identities.
- Not only will they increase, but cyberthreats will increase in sophistication. BEC and phishing will continue, but criminals will get better technology, better images coding, ideas, all with the help of AI in their pocket. Don't forget that while you can use AI for good, cybercriminals will use it for bad.
Renewed Focus on Zero Trust Models
- Do not trust anyone outside your organization.
- Because attacks are getting more sophisticated and BEC rises, impersonation will continue.
- Zero Trust Models help keep people who shouldn't be out of your infrastructure and away from your data.
Humans will Become Essential as AI Rises
- "AI will not replace your job, but someone who masters AI will." AI and automation will rise, but still requires human control and mastery to become more sophisticated.
- Ethical implications of using AI instead of humans still remains prevalent, especially in the legal sector. Let AI supplement your humans, not replace them.
- Properly skilled humans will be a key driver in actually advancing AI so there will be a give and take with this prediction. As humans get better, so too will the AI models.
Sustainability Will Take a Front Seat
- Consumers care about the brands they support and professionals want to work for companies that align with their values and investors evaluate companies on how they manage these risks (Kyndryl.com).
- Providing a sustainable impact for future years is something customers are starting to care about.
- Start small, even a little step shows your customers that you care about what they care about.
- Enterprises will continue to invest in becoming more data driven to transparently measure their progress and make more informed sustainability decisions.
- Organizations will look for guidance on creating a sustainability-centric culture and start to meaningfully reduce their carbon footprints.
So What now?
Preparing for the future is something that should start yesterday. But it's easier with help. So let us help you prepare for your best year yet. give us a call is you need IT help of any kind of just making sure your team is on the right track. We're banding together to make sure the criminals lose and SMBs win this year. Just let us know how we can help.
But whatever you do, prepare, prepare, prepare, because every moment counts to make sure 2024 is a year of success and growth, not data breaches and cybersecurity incompliance.
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