Last year saw significant changes to the IT landscape and workplace. Some were spurred from our settling into a long-term “new normal” after 2020’s upheaval, and others were in response to new and rapidly evolving technology. With 2023 behind us, we’re taking stock of how the IT industry changed last year and what it might mean for 2024.
1. AI in the Workplace
Only a couple of years ago, many saw AI as a distant-future technology or a toy for making memes rather than a viable tool. In 2023, however, significant strides in natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML) took AI from sci-fi fantasy to a functional workplace tool.
AI quickly became ubiquitous in 2023 through the likes of ChatGPT and other content generators. Tools like chatbots, content and code generators, data analytics software, and more entered the scene in full force. LinkedIn saw a 70% increase in conversations around AI from December 2022 to September 2023, and a 21x increase in English-language job listings that mentioned GPT or ChatGPT.
Predictions for 2024:
While AI entered the workplace full-force in 2023, the technology was so new that much of the work with AI tools was unprecedented, ad hoc, and experimental. Many important questions — like the security of AI tools and legal ownership of AI-generated content, for example — remain unanswered.
This year, we expect work-related AI usage to become more systematic and regulated. Companies will likely develop policies and procedures for how they’re used in the workplace, with stricter guidance in terms of security and legal issues.
This standardization may encourage previously hesitant companies to adopt AI. By presenting examples for how to use AI in the workplace effectively while addressing security and legal concerns, these early adopters may set the precedents needed to encourage even wider AI adoption.
2. User-Friendly Authentication
Striking the right balance between cybersecurity and user-friendliness has always been a challenge. And while prioritizing security can feel like the safer avenue, high security that generates too much friction ends up creating risk: it prompts avoidance, workarounds, and human error. New and increasingly popular technologies have helped companies place more emphasis on user-friendliness without compromising on robust protection.
Over the last few years, for example, traditional password-based authentication systems have been giving way to more secure and user-friendly alternatives. Passwordless authentication, biometric authentication, and multi-factor authentication (MFA) — all of which are more secure than traditional username/password authentication — gained significant traction in 2023. A 2023 survey of IT admins working at small-to-medium enterprises, for example, found that over half of their companies required biometric authentication, and 80% of IT admins use biometrics in their personal life.
In addition to enhancing security, these technologies help reduce authentication-related helpdesk tickets, which in turn helps IT teams optimize their resources.
Predictions for 2024:
As organizations recognize the benefits of user-friendly authentication, we expect alternatives to the traditional password to become even more common in the workplace. Further, the increasing presence of these authentication methods in consumer accounts will familiarize users with the technology, reducing friction and streamlining adoption.
Another factor likely to influence the adoption of password alternatives is the increasing sophistication of phishing attacks. Phishing-resistant authentication methods, like passwordless authentication, present a much stronger defense than the traditional password.
3. Cloud Cleanup
The 2020 pandemic had companies scrambling to figure out how to adopt remote work. The result was a rapid shift to the cloud. In the following years, companies became more comfortable with the cloud and continued to adopt cloud technology to serve their remote and hybrid teams’ needs.
In 2023, companies began to feel the growing pains associated with this rapid adoption of cloud solutions: sprawling, disorganized infrastructure. Many companies had too many applications from too many different vendors without a reliable means for centrally managing or securing them all. The result was inefficiency for IT teams and users, security gaps, and bloated tech budgets.
In addition to these internal issues, macroeconomic uncertainty and an increasingly diverse and perilous cybersecurity landscape spurred companies to start taking a closer look at what technology they include in their stacks. The result was companies slimming down and consolidating their stacks.
Predictions for 2024:
This trend will likely continue in 2024, with an emphasis on strategic planning. Companies will be looking for ways to reduce the number of vendors they work and invest in more comprehensive, cost-efficient cloud solutions. This will help companies reduce tech spending while empowering IT teams, streamlining the user experience, and helping ensure supply chain security.
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