By any standard, 2022 was a challenging year for technology. Amazon laid off 10,000 workers, Elon Musk purchased Twitter for $44 billion, and the cryptocurrency company FTX filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. Dr. Chenxi Wang, founder and general partner at Rain Capital, shares predictions for a better 2023.
By any standard, 2022 was a challenging year for technology professionals. Amazon laid off 10,000 workers, the majority of whom worked in its Alexa division, and after SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk purchased Twitter for $44 billion, thousands of employees were laid off.Â
Between those events and the cryptocurrency company FTX filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcyOpens a new window , it’s easy to see why technology news outlets characterized 2022 as a particularly bad year for the industry. In fact, technology columnist Annalee Newitz described the year’s events in New Scientist as a â€œtech apocalypseOpens a new window .â€
2022 was a challenging year for the tech industry. We all watched these events unfold in real time last year and saw their impact on the technology sector and beyond into other areas.
However, while these events were troubling, I would stop short of saying there was an â€œapocalypseâ€ or any other no-return scenario. Technology is constantly changing and evolving. I have seen this cycle repeated in the past many times â€“ the dot-com bubble, the 2008 market crash, etc. Frequently, and more often than not, periods of volatility are followed by periods of great innovation and healthy, necessary change within the industry. With that in mind, here are my predictions for a better 2023.
1. Automation will continue to be a focus
Security and workflow automation were consistent trends in 2022 and will continue to be in 2023. Security operations today still involve a fair amount of manual work. As companies look to manage their costs, automating manual tasks will play a big part. We anticipate organizations gravitating toward solutions that offer automation, end-to-end workflow management, and easy integration. As a result, point technology that requires disparate management will increasingly fall out of fashion.
A critical prerequisite to automation is standards â€“ standards for integration, standards for data format, standards for policy definitions, etc. Without standards, it will be impossible to achieve automation at scale. As an industry, we have made progress in using APIs, adopting Open Policy Agent (OPA), and in Sigma, a generic signature format for threat detection. But we still have a long way to go before integration and automation between different technology products become seamless.Â
2. Response and recoveryÂ
Greater emphasis will be placed on automatic response and recovery than in the past. The cyber industry has done a great deal in terms of detection and prevention, and many past innovations have focused on those aspects. But I think the big kahuna here if you will, will be initiatives focused on what to do after an incident is detected.Â
Many products in the past were used only to detect and report security incidents, putting the security team in the position of triaging, analysis, and figuring out how to respond to incidents. If you look at the NIST cybersecurity framework, recovery has always been a weak column for the security industry. As such, recovery and response becomes an enormous effort that requires a vast amount of human capital. We are now seeing practitioners saying, â€œDon’t come and tell me what the problem is. Take care of it.â€ This trend of automated response and recovery will continue into 2023 and beyond.Â
3. Security engineering is the future
Software continues to be designed and released at a furious pace, which underscores the phrase, â€œSoftware is eating the world.â€ In many companies, the top priority is about supporting and accelerating the creation and release of new software. Unfortunately, that rush to get new products to market often comes at the expense of security.Â
I believe we are seeing the beginning of security becoming an integral part of engineering processes. Companies like Snyk and Github are leading the innovation. In 2023, this trend will accelerate as we have even less of an option to slow down development for security purposes. We should see an accelerated demand for treating security as an engineering principle and embedding security further into development workflows and processes.Â
4. More opportunities in cybersecurity
The alarming number of layoffs at Amazon, Twitter and other tech companies might lead some to believe that the high-tech industry, including cybersecurity, is in free fall. The truth is that cybersecurity is an industry with significantly more open positions than people to fill them. That allows the cyber industry to do things differently than other segments of the market. We are already seeing teams bringing in talent from all over the world, not being constrained by geographic locations or backgrounds. That infusion of fresh thought from all walks of life is exciting and points the way toward a future full of possibilities.
Current geopolitical threats, such as the Russia-Ukraine war and the United States’ strained diplomatic relationship with China, are also likely to drive innovation within the cybersecurity industry. The Russia-Ukraine situation has already brought innovations, such as securing Starlink terminals. Wariness against China led to more stringent requirements on secure edge computing and secure remote access for teams and collaborations across international boundaries. Those innovations might prepare us for a worst-case geopolitical scenario, but in the meantime, they are driving positive changes in the way we adopt and use technology, particularly in cybersecurity.
After such a challenging year, some may find it hard to be optimistic about what 2023 has in store for the tech world. These concerns are valid, particularly when a company such as Meta lays off 11,000 employeesOpens a new window . Like Amazon and Twitter, Meta is a household name, and when we hear of household names experiencing existential woes, it can cause not only ourselves but everyone around us to be pessimistic about what lies ahead in the future.
However, we should keep in mind that the technology industry is built on change and innovation. In fact, some of the best innovations and largest companies are built during a downturn in the economy. As one era begins to fade, the next one is already in motion.
MORE ON 2023 TRENDS & PREDICTIONS:Â
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