2020 security predictions: What to look for and how to benefit

The coming flood of turn-of-the-decade forecasting offers a great opportunity to reorganize business plans, security plans and even career plans – if you are watching for the right things.

Is your vision 2020? Or maybe 2030?

Are you planning your strategy now based on what may happen over the next decade (or two)?

Or, are you fed up with ‘experts’ predicting the future? Perhaps you’ve already packed away all those prognosticator reports with your holiday decorations.

Well Christmas will be coming early if 2020 prognosticators have their way.

And they will.

Get ready for an explosion of 2020 visions (pun intended) – in almost every area of life.  

Virtually everything is on the table as we enter a new decade that will be defined by global innovation and technology breakthroughs. Companies and governments worldwide are jockeying for position to define the new technology landscape.

And this surge in forecasting offers a great opportunity to reorganize business plans, security plans and even career plans – if you are watching for the right things.

What to expect

Hold on to your safety belts, because the number of technology and security predictions will soar as we inch closer to 2020. What’s different as we enter this new decade is that cyber security will be at the center of executive discussions. Headline news stories over the past decade, from the Snowden revelations journey to Facebook privacy blunders, have (belatedly) taught most CEOs that cybersecurity can’t just be bolted on at the end of production processes.   Business leaders now recognize that earlier involvement of cyber experts can help avoid a major data breach, which could derail innovative plans, cripple production operations, or worse, cause a total loss of trust in the brand.

In order to build security into a new product or service, you need to know what the potential problems will be. That's where these turn-of-the-decade security and technology predictions come in.     

We've already started to see mid- and long-term security predictions showing up, as I chronicled here. But that’s just the start. As soon as the RSA Conference next month, expect to see plenty more security roadmaps for the 2020s presented in podcasts, conference sessions and online videos as well as written reports. By Black Hat in August, the trickle of predictions for the new decade will be a steady stream. By the end of next December, we will see more security and technology predictions than ever before.

And this will not be “business as usual” regarding cyberthreats, trends and prediction reports. Most notably, we're going to see an increase in crossover predictions. We'll see announcements about security companies partnering with other innovative companies. For example, if a clothing company wants me to use a virtual fitting room at home, I want that interaction to be secure and private. How will businesses offer that service? 

Other examples of crossover predictions will include government applications, healthcare, automobiles, smart cities, smart homes and critical infrastructures that require secure connectivity. Still others will go wide – by industry, by tech category, ‘smart device’ family or artificial intelligence advancements, etc. Some of these new forecasts that you'll want to watch will not show up on traditional security prediction lists.

Think about these three questions now: Who will you watch? Who will you listen to? How will you take action?

How you can benefit

Regardless of your views on security and technology predictions, you will need to take notice and act. Here are some practical steps: 

1. Do your homework. Good questions to ask from prediction reports and sessions include: What are experts saying about my specific industry – and not just general cyberthreat trends? What projections are relevant for my role? What scenarios need to be examined closer? What emerging technologies can my company or team apply now to simplify or otherwise improve our approach? Dig deeper into the research behind well-written reports.

If enough experts are predicting the same trends, it requires extra attention – or a decision to be a contrarian. For example, think hard about your views on artificial intelligence (AI) and what it means for your industry, company and role.

2. Look for cross-discipline opportunities. For example, the future of autonomous vehicles now involves cyber experts at every stage of the development and production processes. Rigorous testing, which includes global bug bounties, has become the new normal with next-generation vehicles.

3. Get involved. Ask: What is my company planning? How do our plans, strategies and projects stack-up to the predicted cyberthreats? Who is leading the effort? Once you know, engage that person or team by bringing valuable insights and data regarding where the cyberthreat environment will be. If nothing is happening in this area, lead the effort.      

This seems obvious, but don’t just read these reports. Decide what you think is really intriguing, relevant and applicable and take action. That may mean tweaking a plan or a project – or changing careers.   

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

The 10 most powerful cybersecurity companies