Navigating the Tech Horizon: Unveiling the hottest trends and innovations of the year

As we navigate through a digital age defined by rapid advancements, it’s crucial to stay in sync with the latest technological currents.

To illuminate the path ahead, we’ve tapped into the insights of industry thought leaders, bringing you the most compelling trends, technologies, and solutions that are capturing the collective imagination this year. From fortifying cybersecurity to harnessing the power of AI, let’s delve into the prevailing discourse shaping our technological landscape.

The Overarching Themes: Fortifying cybersecurity, harnessing the potential of AI and navigating the delicate balance between innovation and risk management in an interconnected digital world. 

The blog captures a holistic view of the trends, technologies, and solutions that are shaping the technology landscape in the current year.

Ayanda Peta, an eminent authority in Cybersecurity Strategy, Cloud Computing, and Artificial Intelligence at African Rainbow Minerals, shares a comprehensive snapshot of the tech landscape:

– Zero Trust Programs: The concept of Zero Trust is wielding a potent influence on cybersecurity strategies, ensuring that trust is not automatically granted and demanding rigorous authentication at every step.
– Embedding Cybersecurity Expertise at Board Level: With cyber threats scaling unprecedented heights, the integration of cybersecurity experts at the highest echelons of decision-making is a strategic move to fortify digital defences.

– Mash Architecture: In the era of interconnected systems, the rise of Mash Architecture is facilitating seamless integration across applications, amplifying efficiency and user experiences.
– Ransomware: The ominous shadow of ransomware looms large, pushing organisations to fortify their security postures and protect against these insidious threats.
– Air-Gap Strategy: A lever of control and recoverability, the concept of an “air-gap” is emerging as a powerful tool, allowing organisations to isolate critical systems and bolster resilience.

Amukelani Emily Manganyi, a luminary in Cyber Security Enablement and Business Engagement at ABSA Group, accentuates key trends within her purview:

– The Ransomware Challenge: The menace of ransomware remains a critical concern, urging organisations to fortify their defences against these extortion-driven attacks.
– AI: A Dual-Edged Sword: While AI holds transformative potential, its ethical and security implications make it a complex gift that demands careful management.
– Preserving Data Integrity: As data takes center stage, preventing its loss or compromise has become a pivotal goal to maintain operational continuity.

Ishaaq Jacobs, the Chief Information Security Officer at Sasol, adds a layer of depth with his insights:

– AI for Behavioural Insights: Employing AI to decipher intricate human behaviours within organisations and among customers is revolutionizing strategic decision-making.
– DevSecOps on the Rise: The integration of security into development processes, known as DevSecOps, is emerging as a linchpin to build secure applications from the ground up.
– Tackling Vulnerabilities: With vulnerability management gaining prominence, AI’s capabilities are instrumental in bolstering the efficiency of these processes.

Sandika Daya, Senior Manager of IT Governance, Risk, and Compliance at Multichoice, underscores the following trends:

– Zero Trust Environments: The architecture of trust is evolving, with VPNs and Firewalls emerging as key components to secure data flows within organisations.
– Cyber Resilience and Recoverability: Building resilience to withstand and recover from cyberattacks has become a non-negotiable aspect of business strategy.

Alisha Sarabjeeth, Head of Information Security at Mr Price, offers her unique perspective:

– Access Management and Tool Consolidation: Focused on access control, Alisha advocates for the consolidation of tools, with Microsoft offerings standing out as versatile solutions.
– Innovative IoT Devices: While IoT devices continue to evolve, the balance between inventive and excessive offerings prompts reflection, even jesting about electric prams.
– AI’s Retail Realm: AI’s sweeping impact within the retail space raises both opportunities and ethical questions related to sustainability and responsible usage.

Sithembile Songo, Group Head of Information Security at Eskom, highlights the growing significance of AI and ML:

– Beyond Trends: AI and ML: AI and ML cease to be mere trends, transforming into pivotal considerations for sustained growth and innovation.
– Evolving Zero Trust Strategies: Implementing Zero Trust principles is pivotal to enhance security and protect against evolving threats.

Bernard Munyaradzi Chadenga, vCISO and Founder & CEO of The Cimplicity Institute, sheds light on critical areas:

– The Ransomware Menace: Ransomware attacks continue to plague organisations, underscoring the importance of robust cybersecurity strategies.
– Back to Basics: Cyber Hygiene: Addressing cyber hygiene lapses remains a fundamental concern, as businesses grapple with basic security oversights.
– Government Entities in the Crosshairs: Cybercriminals are targeting government entities at an alarming rate, emphasizing the importance of public sector cybersecurity.
– AI’s Inevitable Influence: The omnipresence of AI is undeniable, demanding vigilance in navigating its opportunities and potential pitfalls.

Yurika Pistorius, Chief Compliance Officer at Clientele Limited, introduces crucial insights regarding data security:

– Human Element in Data Security: Suppliers and employees emerge as potential sources of data leaks and breaches, necessitating stringent access and supplier controls.
– Access Control’s Significance: Strengthening access controls and overseeing suppliers play a pivotal role in safeguarding sensitive information.

Aveena Mothilal, Chief Information Officer at Engen Petroleum, adds nuanced observations:

– Generative AI and Vulnerabilities: The emergence of generative AI introduces novel attack vectors, potentially making falling prey to cyber threats more prevalent.
– Elevated Threat Actor Sophistication: Threat actors are increasingly sophisticated, intensifying the gravity of cybersecurity concerns, particularly economic cybercrime.

Muyowa Mutemwa, a seasoned professional with expertise in Computer Science and Cybersecurity, reaffirms essential trends:

– Cloud Migration Challenges: Organisations facing challenges during cloud migration underscore the imperative of integrating security considerations from inception.
– AI and ChatGPT’s Risk Profile: The allure of AI and ChatGPT is tempered by their inherent risks, including human error behind the machines.
– Tool Overload and Data Safeguarding: The proliferation of cybersecurity tools necessitates continuous adaptation, while safeguarding data remains paramount.

Anthea Kruger, General Manager of Information Security Cyber Defence at MTN, emphasises dynamic shifts in her domain:

– AI and ChatGPT’s Ascendancy: AI’s dominance, exemplified by ChatGPT, is reshaping how human interaction with technology evolves.
– Third-Party Supply Chain Risks: The rise of third-party supply chain attacks highlights the need for vigilance in managing interconnected ecosystems.
– Trust in Zero Trust Networks: The philosophy of Zero Trust networks gains momentum as a robust defense mechanism against cyber threats.

Galeboe Mogotsi, General Manager of ICT at WITS, offers an insightful take:

– AI’s Echoing Risks: While AI dominates headlines, the accompanying cybersecurity risks require meticulous attention to sustain digital ecosystems.
– Building Cybersecurity Awareness: Fostering cybersecurity awareness among stakeholders is a proactive step to mitigate emerging threats.

Aashika Bava, Head of Security Awareness Training at Investec, rounds off with enlightening perspectives:

– AI’s Transformative Power: AI’s transformative impact is resonating strongly, spurring new career opportunities for the younger generation.
– Policies for Emerging Tech: Crafting effective policies to manage risks posed by emerging technologies remains a cornerstone of modern cybersecurity.

In summation, this year’s technological discourse revolves around fortifying cybersecurity, unlocking AI’s potential, and embracing innovation with caution.

The battle against ransomware escalates, while AI’s dual nature demands careful stewardship. As data and technology intertwine, the importance of access control, behavioural insights, and vulnerability management becomes undeniable. The path forward encompasses both challenges and opportunities, as the digital realm evolves at an exhilarating pace.

*The thought leaders that contributed to this blog will be speaking at CISO Kanect on 12 & 13 October 2023 at The Marriott Hotel, in the heart of Johannesburg, in Melrose Arch. See them in action, register by 31 August 2023 and save R 2,500.