CIO World Asia’s 2023 IT Predictions

CIO World Asia spoke with the big players in the market to get more insights for the year ahead

The yearly routine of finding technological trends and forecasting the next solar orbit gets under way as the new year draws near. Such activities are always fascinating but also intrinsically dangerous, especially in unpredictable times like the ones we are currently experiencing.

Since it involves both technical and commercial elements, as well as a temporal component, technology prediction is challenging. Better technology haven’t always prevailed. Those who succeeded occasionally needed more time to develop and finally find adoption. Technology success depends on various factors, including technical, manufacturing, commercial, and social factors.

Successful technology forecasts will include research and development outcomes that can quantify and qualify the prediction as well as a rationale and reason for the prediction. The forecast should, ideally, have been inspired by innovative technology features or their application.

Bridging the Digital World and the Real World

The gap between the digital and real worlds is already starting to blur, and in 2023 this tendency will only grow. This union consists of two parts: 3D printing and digital twin technologies.

Digital twins are virtual models of actual activities, goods, or processes that may be used to test novel concepts in a secure online setting. Designers and engineers are adopting digital twins to replicate actual things in virtual environments to test under every scenario without incurring the enormous expenses of real-world research. We’ll see even more digital twins in 2023, in everything from precise healthcare to machinery, autos, and factories.

Engineers may make adjustments and alter components after testing them in the virtual environment before employing 3D printing technology to produce them in the actual world.

“In today’s digital age, data has become one of the most precious commodities for businesses. However, even though organizations collect vast amounts of data from multiple touchpoints every day, many struggle to make sense of them. Specifically, 98% financial services firms in Asia-Pacific (APAC) are seeing data and application silos within their organizations, while 87% are frustrated trying to use their data to drive decision-making.”

David Chan, Managing Director, Singapore, Adnovum

Deepfakes Technology Will Appear more Prominent

The general public may now more easily obtain deepfake technology. Thanks to AI generators trained on massive picture datasets, anyone can produce deep fakes with little to no technical knowledge. The output of the cutting-edge model has several shortcomings, but as technology advances, hackers will begin to use it to fabricate compelling stories.

Although deepfakes have historically featured fraud and corporate email breach techniques, we anticipate their use will soon go beyond current ruses. Imagine the havoc the financial market would experience if a deep-fake CEO or CFO of a significant firm issued a bold remark that caused shares to either climb or fall sharply. Or think about how criminals can use deepfakes in conjunction with biometric identification to commit identity fraud or account takeover.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Even though artificial intelligence, or AI, has generated a lot of noise over the past ten years, it is still one of the newest technological revolutions because its implications on how we live, work, and play are just beginning to be seen. AI is already well-known for its excellence in a wide range of fields, including ride-sharing applications, smartphone personal assistants, picture and speech recognition, navigation apps, and much more.

In addition, AI will be used to examine interactions in order to uncover underlying relationships and insights, to forecast demand for services like hospitals so that decision-makers can allocate resources more effectively, and to identify shifting customer behavior patterns by analyzing data almost instantly. These applications will increase revenue and improve personalized experiences.

By 2025, the AI market will be worth $190 billion, with over $57 billion expected to be spent globally on cognitive and AI systems in 2023. New employment will be generated in development, programming, testing, support, and maintenance, to mention a few, as AI spreads throughout industries. The top new technological trend to watch out for is AI, which provides some of the highest incomes available today, ranging from over $1,25,000 per year (machine learning engineer) to $145,000 per year (AI architect).

Progress in Green Technology

“Decarbonization continues to be a key priority for manufacturing businesses in 2022 and leaders are aware that the benefits of investing in technologies for green operations outweigh the short-term costs.”

-Alex Teo, Vice President & Managing Director of Southeast Asia, Siemens Digital Industries Software

Stopping carbon emissions so we can address the global warming catastrophe is one of the largest challenges the world is now facing.

Green hydrogen, a novel clean-burning energy source with almost no greenhouse gas emissions, will continue to advance in 2023. The first significant green pipeline is being built from wind farms in the North Sea by Shell and RWE, two significant European energy firms.

The creation of decentralized electricity systems will also advance. Using this technique, distributed energy generation creates a network of tiny power producers and storage that are placed in neighborhoods or individual homes, allowing them to function even when the main grid is down. Currently, large gas and energy corporations control a majority of the global energy market, but decentralized energy programs have the potential to democratize electricity while lowering carbon emissions.

Data Theft and Data Leaks

No company is safe from the threat posed by ransomware, which has spread like a disease. Infected with ransomware at least once are 68% of enterprises worldwide, according to Proofpoint’s 2022 State of the Phish study. The progression of data encryption over the past three years to double-extortion tactics that both encrypt and exfiltrate the data is what’s most alarming, though.

In 2019, just one gang employed the double-extortion strategy. 77% of assaults by the first quarter of 2021 included data leakage concerns. The most recent trend in extortion is triple extortion, when attackers demand money from the target company and any other companies that the data breach could affect. This action demonstrates how threat actors are becoming brazen and their monetization techniques are escalating. It could be unavoidable to abandon straightforward encryption assaults completely.

Attacks are getting more personal. Another thing we can expect in the coming year will be that targeted attacks will be much more personal in nature. Already, we see attackers steering away from targeting official work emails to ensnare their victims. Instead, they’re finding more success by sending targeted social engineering campaigns to personal accounts of employees through SMS messages and third-party messaging apps such as Whatsapp.”

Sundaram Lakshmanan, CTO, Lookout

In 2022, organizations focused on cloud security, but in 2023, they will shift their focus to data security. 

The last few years have been focused on infrastructure velocity with the cloud, infrastructure as code, and the shift left mantra. Tooling has been introduced to provide cloud posture management and attack surface monitoring in these high-velocity contexts. In 2023, leaders will turn a strengthened focus up the stack into data movement, provenance, health, and governance driven by an increasing focus on data sovereignty and upcoming data regulations and frameworks such as the European Health Data Space.”

Nick Vigier, CISO at Talend

The Rise of Sophisticated Ransomware Attacks

Organizations will continue to struggle with assaults on sensitive data until 2023 and beyond due to their increasing frequency and complexity. Double extortion attempts are more potent because they encrypt confidential and sensitive information, hold it for ransom, then, worse yet, disseminate it on the dark web until businesses pay up. There are more options for attackers to monetize data now, according to the Verizon 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report.

As it becomes easier for cybercriminals to get past businesses’ security and make a profit, these assaults will rise.

In response, organizations will need to look beyond conventional data protection practices toward technologies that protect data at the source. One such technology is multifactor encryption, which renders files useless to threat actors by preventing them from accessing the data, whether it is still inside the security perimeter or has been successfully exfiltrated.

Ransomware will continue to evolve and research shows that attacks are becoming more harmful each year. According to Mimecast’s State of Ransomware Readiness Report 2022, two-fifths of cybersecurity leaders (40%) have encountered ransomware attacks that use compromised credentials tactics this year, compared to 33% last year. 

Cyber insurance will no longer be a guaranteed safety net and preventing an attack altogether is the only safe path. 

Concerningly, businesses’ ransomware defences appear to have remained static, with many firms lacking basic security measures, which increases vulnerability and exposure in the event of an attack. It’s critical to properly invest in fundamental measures, like robust email security and employee training. 

Internet of Things (IoT)

IoT is another intriguing emerging technological topic. Nowadays, many “things” are constructed with WiFi connection, allowing them to connect to the Internet and to one another. the IoT, or the Internet of Things. The Internet of Things is the wave of the future, and it has already made it possible for gadgets, household appliances, automobiles, and many other things to be connected to the Internet and exchange data there.

We already use and profit from IoT as consumers. While tracking our fitness on our Fitbits, we can remotely lock our doors if we fail to do so before we leave for work and preheat our ovens on the way home. Businesses, however, stand to earn significantly both now and in the near future. As data is gathered and analyzed, the IoT may help organizations make safer, more efficient, and more informed decisions. In addition to benefits we haven’t even considered yet, it can enable predictive maintenance, expedite medical treatment, enhance customer service, and more.

This new technology trend is only getting started: According to projections, there will be 50 billion of these Internet of Things (IoT) gadgets in use worldwide by 2030, building a vast network of interconnected devices that will include everything from smartphones to kitchen appliances. In 2023, it is anticipated that global investment on the Internet of Things (IoT) would total 1.1 trillion dollars. New technologies like 5G are anticipated to propel market expansion in the upcoming years.

5G Acceleration Adoption Will Widen Security Loopholes

In the Asia Pacific (APAC), 5G connections are predicted to increase from 200 million at the end of 2021 to 430 million by 2025, according to a recent analysis by the industry group GSMA. With ambitions to extend standalone 5G connectivity to its seaport by 2025, Singtel has achieved 95% countrywide 5G coverage in Singapore before the statutory objective of 2025. While the cloud increases performance, agility, and scalability, it also exposes the 5G core to cloud security flaws. Large-scale assaults may originate from any source, even the operator’s own network.

According to Palo Alto Networks, accelerated 5G adoption will deepen vulnerabilities. 5G connections in the Asia Pacific (APAC) are expected to reach 430 million in 2025, up from 200 million at the end of end-2021, according to a recent report by the industry association GSMA. In Singapore, Singtel has reached 95% of 5G coverage nationwide, ahead of the regulatory target of 2025, with plans to expand standalone 5G coverage to its seaport by 2025. While cloud provides greater agility, scalability, and performance, it also exposes the 5G core to cloud security vulnerabilities. Large-scale attacks could come from anywhere, even from within the operator’s network

The Importance of Securing Connected Medical Devices

New healthcare capabilities made possible by digitization include remote diagnostics and virtual healthcare. Healthcare is a soft target for cyber threat actors due to the availability of outdated systems and sensitive data that appeals to online thieves. A threat actor is more likely to weaponize a gadget the closer it is to a patient and the more probable it is to have an influence on patient safety. For the protection of patients, medical IoT cybersecurity will be more crucial than ever.

CIOs Will Look to Consolidate Data and Simplify Architecture

Speaking with other CIOs, I’ve noticed that companies are growing exponentially without a plan to organize their data. When a company considers scaling at all costs but doesn’t invest in the right technology to support that growth, there will be issues. Part of the problem is that CIOs today have to manage too many systems. Too many disjointed data pools lead to duplicated, siloed, and locked-up data, which is not only timely and costly to manage and analyze but also leads to security issues. For a company to truly move forward with digital transformation, they need to combine data science and data analytics and draw from a single source of truth. We’ll see more CIOs cutting back on vendor spending to simplify their data architecture. Companies that implement an architecture that combines hindsight and predictive analytics to deliver efficient and intelligent solutions will win in the end.

Naveen, Chief Information Officer, Databricks

During the pandemic, we saw a massive spike in demand for tech talent, especially as businesses anticipated a boom. In 2023, ‘Hollywood IT’, or overly-glamourized tech jobs, will be deprioritized as they no longer fit market demands. Businesses will become more frugal with their spending and outsource to cut costs. The demand for foundational IT roles and critical skillsets, however, will continue to grow. Ironically, this will result in a continuation of the skills shortage despite an increase in IT talent.

Anthony Spiteri, Senior Global Technologist, Product Strategy, Veeam

CTOs and CISOs need to increase collaboration as privacy acts shift data governance strategies

Companies must prepare for data governance to become increasingly complex, especially as states develop their own privacy regulations. While these new regulations may come with potential roadblocks, in 2023 and onward, CTOs and CISOs will need to collaboratively make sure they’re meeting regulatory standards while also establishing best practices around efficiency and compliance internally and for customers. For example, include a steady cadence of meetings focused on maintaining compliance and aligning with legal to create an actionable roadmap for potential rising regulations. These collaborative efforts will ensure companies keep compliance on top of mind, even as more regulations crop up.”

Sam Pierson, CTO at Talend

Businesses will benefit from as-a-Service (aaS)

According to Kumar Mitra, Managing Director and Regional General Manager, Central Asia Pacific at Lenovo ISG, IT decision-makers (ITDMs) are constantly on the lookout for avenues to reduce complexities and gain ultimate flexibility for their IT infrastructure investments. An everything-as-a-service offering, such as TruScale, can enable businesses of all sizes with flexibility, they need to stay competitive with a scalable, cloud-like consumption model, and this trend will see an uptake in the coming year. TruScale deploys hybrid cloud and data recovery solutions as-a-service where enterprises pay for only what they use – managing costs more efficiently.

There are indications that difficult times are approaching as 2023 approaches. Inflation, supply chain concerns, and other global problems will present significant hurdles to organizations across all industries. Even if these indications indicate to economic instability, access to technology will remain widespread in 2023 as more enterprises use cutting-edge technologies to set themselves apart from the competition. We can anticipate seeing the next stage of technological innovation in the coming year as a result of the ensuing rise of data.