This year will see the opposing forces of data proliferation and data privacy battle for equilibrium.

In the aftermath of high-profile data breaches that occurred even after the rollout of new data protection frameworks, 2019 has left many organizations wondering if their IT networks will ever be truly safe and secure from bad actors.

And with louder voices from consumers and consumer advocacy groups to enshrine data privacy, IT decision makers will go into 2020 with a more proactive and discerning approach to data management. Let me share my professional opinion on what five biggest trends are set to impact the IT and business landscape. 

1. 2020 will be the year where regulators take a hard line against data privacy violations with tough sanctions – and organisations should take note

With enforcement going into high gear, be it in the case of Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or local data protection laws, increased publicity around large violation fines is expected as organizations’ data governance come under intense scrutiny. This is the logical next step to address the mounting public concern around the commercial—sometimes even illegal—use of individuals’ data, and serves as a much needed wake-up call for many organisations that have yet to achieve compliance. 

For those that are still playing catch up, the need to build a rigorous and comprehensive data strategy by tapping on cutting-edge and scalable solutions is more urgent than ever.

2. With the large-scale rollout of 5G technologies in 2020, the pace at which cybercrime occurs will accelerate

Hyper-connectivity, high-speed Internet, and the burgeoning volume of smart devices will open the floodgates for cybercriminals to orchestrate more devastating attacks. 

To combat this, organizations will need to refocus on driving security integrations across the business, moving to a centralized environment. Due to the continued skill gap present in the industry, organisations will move to adopt AI and behavioral analytics that will drive automation to augment and fill security gaps and drastically improve response times and accuracy of threat identification.

3. Security will become more proactive, with security response, rollback, and recovery testing embedded in the DevOps pipeline

With attacks and exploits becoming increasingly sophisticated and launched by anyone, from amateur hackers to state-sponsored experts, organizations must be prepared to take immediate action in the event that security is compromised. This is a necessity regardless of the organization, as it is clear that every and any organisation is vulnerable to attack. 

While preventative security testing is now becoming a standard part of the DevOps pipeline, organisations will be looking at how they can prepare a quick and effective response in the event that security is breached. Teams will start adopting a proactive response to security breaches, ensuring that they can control further damage, rollback their systems, and restore corrupted data. We will see this type of testing becoming increasingly incorporated into DevOps pipelines and embedded into continuous testing processes, to minimize the impact and cost of a breach.

4. Consumers will demand more control of their data, and organizations should oblige

By giving individual consumers the ability to select relevant analytic services and specify which datasets can be leveraged to customize and enhance user experiences, organizations can create a significant business differentiator.

Handing control back to the consumers and giving them the choice to share what they are comfortable with will be a significant step towards building an efficient data ecosystem, both from a legal and logical standpoint. 

5. The spotlight on data governance will lead to the rise in prevalence of the Privacy Office in 2020

As an independent function, with a separate budget to existing IT security and IT management, the Privacy Office plays a critical role in helping organizations navigate the complex regulatory landscape, mitigate risks, and build credibility as advocates of data protection. The Chief Privacy Officer role might even be mandatory for organisations that work with large amounts of consumer data, given the proliferation of high-profile data breaches across public and private sectors in recent years. The good news is privacy program solution suites are becoming increasingly comprehensive and accessible, which will help ease the load for organizations looking to invest in their Privacy Office.