Shiny new technology often dominates the headlines—especially when it's gadget-oriented, like AI-generated art and the latest crop of augmented reality and virtual reality headsets. But the most important trends for project managers, IT team members, and cybersecurity professionals to watch in 2024 are typically behind the scenes.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning
No discussion of IT and technology trends can avoid examining the impacts of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning—despite the fact that no one has a clear idea (or even a reasonable guess) where AI-powered innovations are taking us.
On the one hand, tech author Jeff Jarvis points out recent instances where lawyers are facing professional sanctions for trusting generative AI. Meanwhile, some medical and legal experts, like Dr. Ligia Kornowska, managing director of the Polish Hospital Federation (Poland’s largest hospital organization) and leader of the AI Coalition in Healthcare, have begun to suggest that “not to make use of AI... will soon be viewed as medical malpractice" (noting that the US FDA has approved AI-powered diagnostic tools since 2017, largely to aid in the interpretation of medical imaging).
That said, innovations in AI-powered technologies promise a new wave of increased automation at work, not simply in production, but also in project management and cybersecurity. Insights gleaned from AI-based analysis of large data sets will almost certainly be used to guide high-level strategy.
Project managers, IT specialists, and cyber security practitioners alike will need to quickly develop "AI literacy," which will soon prove to be a vital soft skill. Many are already finding themselves responsible for determining whether an AI-based technology is called for, weighing the upsides and downsides of AI in a given context, defining measurable success against industry-specific risks, and anticipating how out-of-context use or misapplication of AI results and errors might harm specific groups. Pearson VUE currently offers both fundamental AI training and a certification to help workers keep up with this rapidly evolving field.
Cloud computing has established itself as the go-to IT model for most businesses, allowing for seamless collaboration and project management among diverse remote team members.
While a "multi-cloud" approach is gaining steam, the lion's share of IT cloud budgets will continue to go to the three giants: Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Google Cloud Platform. According to data from the Synergy Research Group, these three have captured more than 60% of the global cloud computing market. Increasing competition both among the “big three” and from niche upstarts highlights the biggest cloud computing trend for 2024: budget worries edging out security concerns.
According to Flexera’s 2023 State of the Cloud Report, 82% of businesses they surveyed listed spending on cloud services to be their top concern. Security (previously their #1 worry) was rated as a top concern by only 79% of respondents, closely followed by "lack of internal resources and expertise."
Cybersecurity has grown even more complex in recent years—due in part to the boom in cloud computing and remote work—and will continue to do so in 2024.
According to the FBI, ransomware is again the most significant cybersecurity threat. There were signs of ransomware attacks decreasing in 2022, but that decline has reversed. As of early 2023, ransomware attacks had nearly doubled year over year.
Cybersecurity experts note that, despite the dismantling of several dominant organized ransomware groups (e.g., REvil and Conti), new groups have emerged to take their place. These newcomers are increasingly sophisticated cybercriminals, occasionally leveraging machine learning and AI to target organizations of all sizes (rather than focusing solely on "big fish," as they had in the past).
The increasing adoption of cloud computing, coupled with the ramifications of data breaches, demands shifting to a “zero-trust” security model. Such a model assumes that no one and nothing can be trusted to be what it says it is and stands in contrast to the older "perimeter security" model, where one assumed that anyone who made it past the door (physically or virtually) was trustworthy.
“The technology landscape is evolving," Imran Umar told CSO this past spring. Umar is a senior cyber solution architect at Booz Allen Hamilton, where he leads zero-trust initiatives for various federal agencies, including the US Department of Defense. "As organizations [have] adopted cloud [solutions] and with more mobile devices and more bring-your-own devices, remote and hybrid work, and adversaries becoming more sophisticated, it all led to changes in the threat landscape. As a result, the old security model is no longer scalable.”
Staying ahead of the curve with training and certification
Through CertPREP, Pearson offers a one-stop training and certification solution to keep your team on top of the latest trends. These include AI training and certification courses, support for cloud computing using Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS), and training for cybersecurity certifications such as CompTIA Security+ and CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+).
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