According to GlobalData’s Emerging Technology Trends Survey 2020, 84% of business leaders worldwide expect cybersecurity to play a role in their company’s recovery from the crisis. Almost as many (83%) assign the same importance to cloud computing.

GlobalData surveys the attitudes of business leaders towards emerging technologies annually to assess how they are evolving. From aerospace and defence to foodservice and banking, executives from various sectors share their views and investment plans on cybersecurity, cloud computing, automation, the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), 5G, blockchain, and augmented reality (AR).

The impact of Covid-19 on technology use

The shift towards working from home during the coronavirus pandemic has created new opportunities for cybercriminals. The UK National Cyber Security Centre and the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency have reported an increase in cyberattacks since the start of the pandemic. GlobalData’s survey results indicate that business leaders understand the risks and have given cybersecurity an essential role in their recovery plans.

Social distancing has moved work and other areas of our lives to the digital realm. Shopping, socialising, and other activities are increasingly conducted online. Some of these changes will likely be temporary, but others are here to stay.

Online retail was an area of growth long before the pandemic hit, and many employees will continue to work from home at least some of the time, even after Covid-19 recedes. An increase in ecommerce and the provision of a myriad of other online services means that companies need more cloud capacity and must protect the operations they conduct online. As a result, the demand for cloud computing and cybersecurity is likely to increase significantly.

Cities that otherwise would not be thought of as ‘tech hubs’ are becoming home to multinational giants that foster talent.

Cloud and cybersecurity: a special relationship

Cloud computing and cybersecurity have more in common than increased demand caused by the pandemic. GlobalData’s survey reveals that the two technologies are widely understood by executives and are expected to deliver efficiency gains.

Our survey results establish a clear correlation between technology understanding and investment plans. When asked if they understand each of the eight technologies covered by the survey, 59% of participants said they fully understand cloud computing and cybersecurity, with more than 30% saying that they partially understand them. They are also the two technologies in which most respondents said they have already invested.

Other technologies are less well understood by business leaders, including blockchain and augmented reality. They are also widely perceived to be overhyped. Less than one in three respondents to our survey said that either blockchain or AR would live up to all their promises.

Technology awareness needs to be promoted

Technology vendors should try and raise awareness of technologies that are less understood. For example, AR can be an important tool in the retail, healthcare, and apparel industries, but our survey reveals that it is not yet widely understood by executives in those sectors.

Regardless of how perceptions evolve, cloud and cybersecurity will have priority in the short term, especially in a world where budgets will be tight. In addition to increased demand caused by the pandemic, cloud and cybersecurity are intrinsically linked. Company data and infrastructure stored in the cloud are vulnerable to ransomware and malware attacks, which can lead to compromised data. Such breaches can cause significant reputational damage and dent revenue. As more of our work and social lives moves into the cloud, demand for cybersecurity will inevitably increase.

Nabil Lodey is CEO of Envitia, a data software and services company based in Horsham whose clients include the Ministry of Defence and the UK Environment Agency.

Share this article