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From Evolution of Cloud to Threat Landscapes with AI: Technology Trends in 2024

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By: Anthony Spiteri, Regional CTO APJ, Veeam 

Technology is a powerful tool in driving innovation, which has accelerated rapidly in the last year with the explosion of generative artificial intelligence (Gen AI) and the development of intelligent applications.

We live in an increasingly interconnected world where it is more important than ever for businesses to stay ahead of trends and be vigilant to challenges as innovation propels the technology sector forward.   

Flexibility becomes the key for cloud and ‘as-a-service’ model 

In recent years, the cloud has been widely recognised as the best solution for companies looking to reduce IT costs, allowing technology leaders to do away with expensive legacy infrastructure. However, looking to 2024, this trend may see a notable shift back to private infrastructure as organisations seek to regain control by migrating certain applications away from public clouds. While the cloud plays an important role for businesses, the flexibility it offers becomes a key consideration with more demanding and tailored responses to their data requirements, whether it is shifting workloads or ensuring on-prem data protection.

The continued optimisation balance between public cloud and on-prem is expected to come under greater scrutiny in 2024. While hyperscale cloud providers have always provided cost-effective alternatives, cloud storage costs can quickly add up for organisations not built as a digital-first enterprise. Having made the move to the cloud, customers are now exploring alternatives that might make more sense financially, computationally, or in terms of data sovereignty — particularly via edge computing — to regain control over their workloads. To be able to action these alternatives quickly and in a cost-effective manner, data flexibility is again necessary. 

Amid economic uncertainty, ‘as-a-Service’ models are also predicted to grow, with the shift from capital to operational expenditure reflecting a broader business strategy that focuses on services that provide flexibility and scalability. 

Security becomes an AI-fuelled challenge

Cybersecurity threats remain at the forefront of challenges in 2024. Many businesses fell victim to an attack in 2023, where the personal information of millions of customers was compromised. It is a stark reminder of the persistent and evolving nature of cyberattacks, affecting both companies and their customers.

For 2024, the likelihood of larger and more significant attacks is set to increase, coupled with the fact that most businesses are not adequately prepared. The recent Veeam Ransomware Trends Report found that while 87 percent of organisations have a risk management program that drives their security roadmap or strategy, only 35 percent believe it is working well. Despite this lack of confidence, only around 52 percent are seeking to improve, and this says nothing of the remaining 13 percent who do not have an established program at all.

The adoption of AI and Machine Learning technologies, fuelled by ongoing hype, has further heightened concerns about security and data privacy. Policymakers are responding with increased regulations and controls to ensure responsible AI usage. The unsettling instances of deep fakes, such as the unauthorised use of a celebrity’s likeness in scams, underscore the risks associated with these AI-generated creations as they increase the effectiveness of phishing attacks, and thus entry paths to ransomware.  

The way forward continues to be unclear as companies remain divided on what is ethically acceptable. Tech giant Meta, for example, capitalised on deepfakes through its “AI experiences,” paying celebrities to use their voice and likeness to create AI bots. The creation of Billie Jenner, the AI-alter ego of supermodel Kendall Jenner, has led to concerns about the ethical implications and potential for misuse.  

Fostering cyber resilience remains the key 

To stay ahead of ever-evolving threats, a comprehensive approach is needed. For businesses, employees still remain their strongest weapon against attacks. Actively engaging employees in maintaining a secure environment is not merely a best practice but essential. Regular training and upskilling programs can help employees stay current with evolving threats and allows them to recognise phishing emails, flag suspicious links and foster a continuous cycle in education and awareness.  

Complementing this approach with AI has become a powerful tool in the battle against cyber threats, particularly for ransomware. Beyond its current applications in the data protection market, generative AI can be leveraged for data analysis and ransomware detection, picking up trends or activity pointing to malicious activity that would otherwise go unnoticed.  

Beyond the efforts of individual businesses, however, governments and industry groups have an important role. The Australian Government, for example, has also recognised the threat that cyberattacks pose and we have seen it push campaigns for companies to adopt holistic cybersecurity strategies that encompass prevention, backup, and recovery as the base of defense.

Initiatives like Australia’s Essential Eight, developed by The Australian Signals Directorate, exemplify a commitment to a robust cybersecurity position. As organisations navigate the complex cybersecurity landscape, these multifaceted strategies, informed by employee awareness, AI integration, and comprehensive cybersecurity frameworks, are instrumental in fortifying defenses and ensuring resilience against the relentless tide of cyber threats. 

2024: Finding a balance

As we step into 2024, the tech landscape commands a nuanced strategy. Innovation requires businesses to flexibly navigate change and the cloud’s evolution urges a re-evaluation of public and private infrastructure to emphasise tailored flexibility.

However, the shadow of cybersecurity threats still looms. All signs point to larger and more sophisticated attacks, making AI integration and employee cybersecurity education imperative. Collaborative efforts, like Australia’s Essential Eight, underscore the need for multifaceted strategies.

In this landscape, success hinges on adeptly balancing innovation, flexibility, and security. As businesses chart their course through 2024, this equilibrium will become the compass guiding them through the unpredictable terrain of the tech future.

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