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Cybersecurity and corporate IT predictions for 2022
Fri, 25th Feb 2022
FYI, this story is more than a year old

The rapid changes over the last 24 months have left many organisations reeling. It was impossible to predict most of the changes that took place as a result of the global pandemic.

However, now that many organisations are regaining their equilibrium, it's essential to look into the future and ensure the business is prepared for what awaits in 2022 and beyond.

The cyberattacks seen in 2021 demonstrated the dire consequences of falling short of appropriate levels of cyber resilience. New ways of working will reveal new dangers across the enterprise, from remote users to new supply chains and from cloud to mainframe.

Corporate IT has also changed in the wake of the pandemic, and digital commoditisation will continue. Today's organisations must be nimble, decisive, and digitally capable, while leaders must be able to cope with the unexpected.

Here are nine IT predictions organisations must prepare for in 2022:

1. AI will help combat increasing attacks on the Internet of Things (IoT) and critical infrastructure 

Because of the increased reliance on IoT devices and networked and distributed computation systems, attacks on these systems will rise.

However, AI will come to the fore in combatting these attacks because of its ability to analyse vast amounts of threat-related data, detect even very subtle hints of an attack, and statistically review clues to pinpoint the devices being infiltrated. These services will be cloud-only.

2. Certain types of AI will emerge as relevant to cybersecurity 

The types of AI that will be adopted in 2022 will focus on specific, battle-tested techniques such as statistical learning, anomaly detection and, in a more limited capacity, natural language processing (NLP).

On the other hand, certain areas of AI research, such as large language models (like GPT-3), will not be heavily adopted in 2022 for cybersecurity because there is not yet a good use case match within cybersecurity for those technologies.

In addition, the computationally expensive and non-transparent nature of these approaches does not lend themselves well to current security operations centre (SOC) needs.

3. Machine learning will drive cyberattacks 

The increased use of AI extends to cyberattackers who will use unsupervised machine learning to launch automated and autonomous attacks. The algorithms will decide the best course of action for an attack, making them incredibly difficult to combat. This will democratise cyberattacks and deliver economies of scale that benefit cybercriminals.

4. Cloud will be an attack vector 

Cloud will be weaponised due to its computing power and potential anonymity to launch attacks. The difficulty involved in tracing offenders makes the cloud highly attractive to cybercriminals, which will accelerate the use of dark or black clouds.

5. The SOC will evolve  

The SOC will no longer be a correlation engine but more of a threat-gathering centre of excellence. SOCs will be tasked to respond to threats and will be embedded in crisis management scenarios and strategies.

SOCs will also become more automated and orchestrated with the rest of the enterprise ecosystem. SOCs may also be outsourced more often, which helps streamline and ease internal operations.

6. Software supply chain vulnerabilities 

Supply chain issues continue to impact consumers, and fast delivery seems to be a thing of the past. Bottlenecks indicate supply chain breakdowns caused by disconnects in process flow and interaction models.

The same disconnects occur in software and product delivery processes. It's essential to validate the provenance of artifacts from software supply chains. Failing to do this creates security vulnerabilities, so organisations will continue to evolve their supply chain interaction models.

Application development processes now require well-trusted, well-sourced, and well-understood components, especially for low-code/no-code application creation.

Organisations must include supply chain design and artifact verification as part of every application to overcome these issues. Simplifying process delivery models to validate artifacts, remove manual interaction steps, and automate away the risks of malicious or insecure inclusions is key to maintaining delivery velocity and creating high-value products to address business requirements.

7. The knowledge economy  

Data will continue to drive decisions, and its use will expand. Whether it is keeping people or organisations safe, understanding user and customer behaviour and sentiment, the concept of digital forensics – genuine, intelligent insight – will further advance the space.

8. Everyone and everything, everywhere  

Accepting, adapting and leveraging a many-to-many topology will cause IT leaders to rethink, remodel and reinvest to support greater (and compliant) collaboration and cohesion between teams, applications and customers.

9. Agile IT factories  

Foundations for future growth reside in today's core systems, applications, teams, and processes. Streamlining operations and delivery processes using factory or value stream models will further enhance existing agile or DevOps processes to instil greater efficiency and allow room for transformational change.

Organisations must always leave room for unexpected developments. However, it's essential to control and harness all aspects of the environment wherever possible to minimise risk and increase the organisation's ability to react positively to changing circumstances.

Organisational leaders will need to carefully manage ongoing transformations and ensure that outcomes are predictable, which requires solid trusted foundations. Being aware of these emerging trends in 2022 will help.

Article by Micro Focus ANZ managing director, Peter Fuller.