The 10 Biggest Cyber Security Trends In 2024 Everyone Must Be Ready For Now

By the end of the coming year, the cost of cyber attacks on the global economy is predicted to top $10.5 trillion.

This staggering amount reflects the growing need for cyber security to be treated as a strategic priority on an individual, organizational and governmental level.

As in every other field of business and technological endeavor, artificial intelligence (AI) will have a transformative impact on both attack and defense. Its impact will be felt across every one of the trends covered here.

The Cyber Security Skills Crunch

A shortage of professionals with the skills needed to protect organizations from cyber attacks continues to be a running theme throughout 2024. In fact, the situation appears to be getting worse – research indicates that a majority (54 percent) of cyber security professionals believe that the impact of the skills shortage on their organization has worsened over the past two years. We can expect efforts to rectify this situation to include a continued increase in salaries paid to those with the necessary skills, as well as greater investment in training, development and upskilling programs.

As AI increases in sophisticoation at a frankly alarming rate, we will continue to see more sophisticated and smart AI-powered attacks. This will range from deepfake social engineering attempts to automated malware that intelligently adapts in order to evade detection. At the same time, it will help us detect, evade or neutralize threats thanks to real-time anomaly detection, smart authentication and automated incident response. If cyber attack and defense in 2024 is a game of chess, then AI is the queen – with the ability to create powerful strategic advantages for whoever plays it best.

Next-Level Phishing Attacks

Social engineering attacks involving tricking users into giving attackers access to systems will also increase in sophistication. Generative AI (such as ChatGPT) tools enable more attackers to make smarter, more personalized approaches, and deepfake attacks will become increasingly prevalent. The response to this will largely revolve around organization-wide awareness and education, although AI and zero trust will play a growing role, too.

Cyber Security In The Board Room

In 2024, cybersecurity is a strategic priority that can no longer be siloed in the IT department. Gartner has predicted that by 2026, 70 percent of boards will include at least one member with expertise in the field. This enables organizations to move beyond reactive defense, meaning that they can act on new business opportunities that come with being prepared.

IoT Cyber Attacks

More devices talking to each other and accessing the internet means more potential “ins” for cyber attackers to take advantage of. With the work-from-home revolution continuing, the risks posed by workers connecting or sharing data over improperly secured devices will continue to be a threat. Often, these devices are designed for ease of use and convenience rather than secure operations, and home consumer IoT devices may be at risk due to weak security protocols and passwords. The fact that industry has generally dragged its feet over the implementation of IoT security standards, despite the fact that the vulnerabilities have been apparent for many years, means it will continue to be a cyber security weak spot – though this is changing (more on this below).

Cyber Resilience – Beyond Cyber Security

Two terms that are often used interchangeably are cyber security and cyber resilience. However, the distinction will become increasingly important during 2024 and beyond. While the focus of cyber security is on preventing attacks, the growing value placed on resilience by many organizations reflects the hard truth that even the best security can’t guarantee 100 percent protection. Resilience measures are designed to ensure continuity of operations even in the wake of a successful breach. Developing the capability to recover in an agile manner while minimizing data loss and downtime will be a strategic priority in 2024.

Less Than Zero Trust

The fundamental concept of zero trust – always verify – evolves as systems become more complex and security is integrated into business strategy. Zero trust states that there is no perimeter within which network activity can be assumed to be safe. As the threat landscape evolves, this principle extends beyond the corporate network to the ecosystem of remote workers, partnered organizations and IoT devices. In 2024, zero trust moves from being a technical network security model to something adaptive and holistic, enabled by continuous AI-powered real-time authentication and activity monitoring.

Cyber Warfare And State-Sponsored Cyber Attacks

The war in Ukraine, which looks set to enter its third year, has exposed the extent to which states are willing and able to deploy cyber attacks against military and civilian infrastructure in 2024. It’s a safe bet that going forward, wherever military operations take place around the world, they will go hand-in-hand with cyber warfare operations. The most common tactics include phishing attacks designed to gain access to systems for the purposes of disruption and espionage and distributed denial-of-service attacks to disable communications, public utilities, transport and security infrastructure. Outside of warfare, major elections will take place in 2024 in countries including the US, UK and India, and we can expect an increase in cyber attacks aimed at disrupting the democratic process.

Soft Skills Becoming Increasingly Essential For Cyber Security Professionals

Cybersecurity professionals will increasingly be expected to take on more complex workloads during 2024 as the threat landscape grows ever more sophisticated. This doesn’t simply mean in a technical sense – those with responsibility for countering cyber threats will also find themselves tasked with more complex social and cultural aspects of threat mitigation. This will lead to a growing reliance on soft skills such as interpersonal communication, relationship-building and problem-solving.

Cyber Security Regulation

Governments and organizations are becoming increasingly aware of the risks to national security and to economic growth posed by cyber threats. The potential social and political fallout of large-scale data breaches is also a major factor in the emergence of new regulations around cyber security issues. For example, businesses in the UK have until April 2024 to ensure they are compliant with the Product Security and Telecommunications Act, which sets out minimum security requirements that networked products must adhere to (for example, they mustn’t be shipped with a default password). Implementation of the EU’s similar Radio Equipment Directive has been delayed until 2025, but the topic is still likely to be high on the agenda of legislators throughout 2024.


IT Support Exposed: Ensuring Smooth Operations for Your Company

In the fast-paced world of business, the reliance on Information Technology (IT) has become indispensable. From managing day-to-day operations to fostering innovation, IT plays a pivotal role in ensuring the smooth functioning of companies. Behind the scenes, a dedicated team of IT professionals provides the necessary support to keep the digital gears turning. In this article, we delve into the world of IT support, exploring the critical aspects that contribute to the seamless operation of a company.

The Backbone of IT Support

Proactive Problem Resolution

In the realm of IT support, the best approach is often proactive rather than reactive. Rather than waiting for issues to arise, IT professionals actively monitor systems, identify potential problems, and implement preventive measures. This involves regular system updates, security patches, and performance optimization. Proactive problem resolution not only minimizes downtime but also enhances the overall efficiency of the IT infrastructure. By anticipating and addressing issues before they impact operations, IT support becomes a strategic partner in the company’s success, rather than a mere firefighting squad.

Navigating the Information Technology Transition

As businesses evolve in the digital era, the transition emerges as a defining factor in their ability to stay competitive. This phase of the Information Technology transition involves not only upgrading hardware and software but also adapting to new paradigms in how technology is utilized within the organization. The IT support team plays a pivotal role in orchestrating this transition, ensuring a seamless integration of emerging technologies. Whether it’s migrating to cloud-based solutions, implementing advanced cybersecurity measures, or harnessing the power of data analytics, a well-executed Information Technology transition lays the foundation for enhanced operational efficiency and future growth. This dynamic process demands not only technical prowess but also a strategic vision as IT support becomes a driving force in shaping the technological landscape.

User Training and Education

While IT professionals are adept at navigating the intricacies of technology, not all employees share the same level of expertise. User training and education are critical components of a comprehensive IT support strategy. This involves conducting regular workshops, creating informative resources, and fostering a culture of digital literacy within the organization. When employees understand how to use technology effectively and securely, the likelihood of encountering issues decreases significantly. Additionally, a well-informed workforce can contribute valuable insights to the IT team, aiding in the continuous improvement of systems and processes.

Embracing Remote Support in the Digital Age

The landscape of work has undergone a profound transformation, with remote work becoming more prevalent than ever. In this context, IT support has had to adapt to the challenges of providing assistance to employees scattered across different locations. Remote support tools and technologies have become indispensable for IT professionals, enabling them to troubleshoot issues, install software, and perform system maintenance without being physically present. This shift to remote support not only enhances flexibility for both IT teams and employees but also underscores the importance of robust cybersecurity measures to protect sensitive data across various access points.

Scalability and Future-Proofing

As companies grow, so do their IT needs. A forward-thinking IT support strategy considers scalability and future-proofing as crucial elements. This involves implementing systems and solutions that can adapt to the evolving requirements of the business. Cloud computing, for example, offers scalable and flexible solutions that can grow with the company. Additionally, IT professionals must stay abreast of technological advancements, ensuring that the company’s infrastructure remains at the forefront of innovation. By anticipating future needs and embracing scalable solutions, IT support becomes a strategic enabler for the company’s long-term success.

Balancing Automation and Human Touch

Automation has become a buzzword in the tech world, promising efficiency and speed. However, in the realm of IT support, striking the right balance between automation and the human touch is crucial. While automation can handle routine tasks and streamline processes, the empathetic understanding and problem-solving skills of human IT professionals remain irreplaceable. Companies must find the sweet spot where automation enhances efficiency without sacrificing the personalized support that human interaction provides. This delicate balance ensures that the IT support team remains agile, responsive, and attuned to the unique needs of the organization.

In the intricate dance of modern business operations, IT support emerges as a linchpin that holds everything together. From providing the necessary technical expertise to fostering a culture of digital literacy, IT support is instrumental in ensuring the seamless functioning of a company. By adopting proactive problem resolution, investing in user training, embracing remote support, planning for scalability, and striking the right balance between automation and human touch, organizations can build a resilient IT support framework. In doing so, they not only mitigate risks and minimize downtime but also position themselves for sustained success in an increasingly digital and dynamic business landscape.


AI and quantum research at centre of UK science and tech announcements

Artificial intelligence and quantum research were at the centre of science and technology announcements in the UK chancellor’s Autumn Statement on Wednesday.

The government will boost spending on computing power to develop AI by £500mn over two years to bring total planned investment to more than £1.5bn, said Jeremy Hunt.

The increase followed criticism of the £900mn allocated to AI computing in the March Budget as being too modest by international standards, with other countries planning to spend much more. “It’s great to hear that the government will find a further £500mn over the next two years to fund further innovation centres to help make us an AI powerhouse,” said Rashik Parmar, chief executive of the British Computer Society.

At the same time, the government revealed five “moonshot missions” for its £2.5bn national quantum strategy. They include developing UK-based quantum computers capable of running 1tn operations without making any errors — today’s fastest machines are capable of just a few hundred error-free operations.

It also aims to deploy “the world’s most advanced quantum network at scale, pioneering the future quantum internet”. “It is much more than headline pledges, it’s a call to arms,” said Chris Ballance, chief executive of UK quantum start-up Oxford Ionics. “The government is sending a clear signal of the UK’s unwavering commitment to becoming a leader in the quantum revolution.”

Elsewhere, the Autumn Statement provided £121mn to the UK space sector for a variety of infrastructure investments in Earth observation and communication technology. Some of the money, with additional funding from aerospace company Lockheed Martin, will enable Northumbria University in Newcastle to set up a £50mn North East Space Skills and Technology Centre.

The pharmaceutical and biotech industries welcomed the promise of a £520mn investment in life sciences manufacturing from 2025-26, as well as changes to research and development tax credits that the government says will provide relief worth an additional £280mn per year. “Increased flexibility in the tax relief scheme for R&D-intensive companies will make a meaningful difference to company growth, job creation and accelerating the delivery of new medicines to patients,” said Steve Bates, chief executive of the BioIndustry Association.

Looking at the Autumn Statement as a whole, Sarah Main, executive director of the Campaign for Science and Engineering, said: “I’m encouraged by the ideas that emerged. They show government thinking creatively about new ways to support science in the long term and seeding support across the breadth of the science economy.”


AI doesn’t cause harm by itself. We should worry about the people who control it

At times it felt less like Succession than Fawlty Towers, not so much Shakespearean tragedy as Laurel and Hardy farce. OpenAI is the hottest tech company today thanks to the success of its most famous product, the chatbot ChatGPT. It was inevitable that the mayhem surrounding the sacking, and subsequent rehiring, of Sam Altman as its CEO would play out across global media last week, accompanied by astonishment and bemusement in equal measure.

For some, the farce spoke to the incompetence of the board; for others, to a clash of monstrous egos. In a deeper sense, the turmoil also reflected many of the contradictions at the heart of the tech industry. The contradiction between the self-serving myth of tech entrepreneurs as rebel “disruptors”, and their control of a multibillion-dollar monster of an industry through which they shape all our lives. The tension, too, between the view of AI as a mechanism for transforming human life and the fear that it may be an existential threat to humanity.

Many are ‘preppers’, survivalists prepared for the possibility of a Mad Max world

Few organisations embody these contradictions more than OpenAI. The galaxy of Silicon Valley heavyweights, including Elon Musk and Peter Thiel, who founded the organisation in 2015, saw themselves both as evangelists for AI and heralds warning of the threat it posed. “With artificial intelligence we are summoning the demon,” Musk portentously claimed.

OpenAI was created as a non-profit-making charitable trust, the purpose of which was to develop artificial general intelligence, or AGI, which, roughly speaking, is a machine that can accomplish, or surpass, any intellectual task humans can perform. It would do so, however, in an ethical fashion to benefit “humanity as a whole”.

Then, in 2019, the charity set up a for-profit subsidiary to help raise more investment, eventually pulling in more than $11bn (£8.7bn) from Microsoft. The non-profit parent organisation, nevertheless, retained full control, institutionalising the tension between the desire to make a profit and doomsday concerns about the products making the profit. The extraordinary success of ChatGPT only exacerbated that tension.

Two years ago, a group of OpenAI researchers left to start a new organisation, Anthropic, fearful of the pace of AI development at their old company. One later told a reporter that “there was a 20% chance that a rogue AI would destroy humanity within the next decade”. That same dread seems to have driven the attempt to defenestrate Altman and the boardroom chaos of the past week.

One may wonder about the psychology of continuing to create machines that one believes may extinguish human life. The irony, though, is that while fear of AI is exaggerated, the fear itself poses its own dangers. Exaggerated alarm about AI stems from an inflated sense of its capabilities. ChatGPT is superlatively good at predicting what the next word in a sequence should be; so good, in fact, that we imagine we can converse with it as with another human. But it cannot grasp, as humans do, the meanings of those words, and has negligible understanding of the real world. We remain far from the dream of “artificial general intelligence”. “AGI will not happen,” Grady Booch, chief scientist for software engineering at IBM, has suggested, even “in the lifetime of your children’s children”.

For those in Silicon Valley who disagree, believing AGI to be imminent, humans need to be protected through “alignment” – ensuring that AI is “aligned with human values and follows human intent”. That may seem a rational way of countervailing any harm AI might cause. Until, that is, you start asking what exactly are “human values”, who defines them, and what happens when they clash?

Social values are always contested, and particularly so today, in an age of widespread disaffection driven often by the breakdown of consensual standards. Our relationship to technology is itself a matter for debate. For some, the need to curtail hatred or to protect people from online harm outweighs any rights to free speech or privacy. This is the sentiment underlying Britain’s new Online Safety Act. It’s also why many worry about the consequences of the law.

Then there is the question of disinformation. Few people would deny that disinformation is a problem and will become even more so, raising difficult questions about democracy and trust. The question of how we deal with it remains, though, highly contentious, especially as many attempts to regulate disinformation results in even greater powers being bestowed on tech companies to police the public.

The reason algorithms are prone to bias, especially against minorities, is because they are aligned to human values

Meanwhile, another area of concern, algorithmic bias, highlights the weaknesses of arguments for “alignment”. The reason algorithms are prone to bias, especially against minorities, is precisely because they are aligned to human values. AI programmes are trained on data from the human world, one suffused with discriminatory practices and ideas. These become embedded into AI software, too, whether in the criminal justice system or healthcarefacial recognition or recruitment.

The problem we face is not that machines may one day exercise power over humans. That is speculation unwarranted by current developments. It is rather that we already live in societies in which power is exercised by a few to the detriment of the majority, and that technology provides a means of consolidating that power. For those who hold social, political and economic power, it makes sense to project problems as technological rather than social and as lying in the future rather than in the present.

There are few tools useful to humans that cannot also cause harm. But they rarely cause harm by themselves; they do so, rather, through the ways in which they are exploited by humans, especially those with power. That, and not fantasy fears of extinction, should be the starting point for any discussion about AI.


6 Artificial Intelligence Myths Debunked: Separating Fact from Fiction

Artificial Intelligence is undoubtedly the buzzword of our time. Its popularity, particularly with the emergence of generative AI applications like ChatGPT, has brought it to the forefront of technological debates.

Everyone is talking about the impact of AI generative apps like ChatGPT and whether it is fair to take advantage of their capabilities. However, amid all this perfect storm, there has been a sudden surge of numerous myths and misconceptions around the term Artificial Intelligence or AI.

I bet you might have heard many of these already! Let’s dive deep into these myths, shatter them, and understand the true nature of AI.

 1. AI is Intelligent

Contrary to popular belief, AI isn’t intelligent at all. Most people nowadays do think that AI-powered models are intelligent indeed. This might be led by the inclusion of the term “intelligence” within the name “artificial intelligence”

But what does intelligence mean?

Intelligence is a trait unique to living organisms defined as the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills. This means that intelligence allows living organisms to interact with their surroundings, and thus, learn how to survive.

AI, on the other hand, is a machine simulation designed to mimic certain aspects of this natural intelligence. Most AI applications we interact with, especially in business and online platforms, rely on machine learning.

6 Artificial Intelligence Myths Debunked: Separating Fact from Fiction

These are specialized AI systems trained on specific tasks using vast amounts of data. They excel in their designated tasks, whether it’s playing a game, translating languages, or recognizing images.

However, out of their scope, they are usually quite useless…  The concept of an AI possessing human-like intelligence across a spectrum of tasks is termed general AI, and we are far from achieving this milestone.

2. Bigger is Always Better

The race among tech giants often revolves around boasting the sheer size of their AI models. Llama’s 2 open-source LLM launch surprised us with a mighty 70 billion features version, while Google’s Palma stands at 540 billion features and OpenAI’s latest launch ChatGPT4 shines with 1.8 trillion features. However, the LLM’s amount of billion features doesn’t necessarily translate to better performance.

The quality of the data and the training methodology are often more critical determinants of a model’s performance and accuracy. This has already been proved with the Alpaca experiment by Stanford where a simple 7 billion features powered Llama-based LLM could tie the astonishing 176 billion features powered ChatGPT 3.5.

So this is a clear NO!

Bigger is not always better. Optimizing both the size of LLMs and their corresponding performance will democratize the usage of these models locally and allow us to integrate them into our daily devices.

3. Transparency and Accountability in AI

A common misconception is that AI is a mysterious black box, devoid of any transparency. In reality, while AI systems can be complex and are still quite opaque, significant efforts are being made to enhance their transparency and accountability. Regulatory bodies are pushing for ethical and responsible AI utilization. Important movements like the Stanford AI Transparency Report and the European AI Act are aimed to prompt companies to enhance their AI transparency and provide a basis for governments to formulate regulations in this emerging domain?.

Transparent AI has emerged as a focal discussion point in the AI community, encompassing a myriad of issues such as the processes allowing individuals to ascertain the thorough testing of AI models and understanding the rationale behind AI decisions. This is why data professionals all over the world are already working on methods to make AI models more transparent.

So while this might be partially true, it is not as severe as common though!

4. Infallibility of AI

Many believe that AI systems are perfect and incapable of errors. This is far from the truth. Like any system, AI’s performance is contingent on the quality of its training data. And this data is often, not to say always,  created or curated by humans.

If this data contains biases, the AI system will inadvertently perpetuate them.

An MIT team’s analysis of widely-used pretrained language models revealed pronounced biases in associating gender with certain professions and emotions. For example, roles such as flight attendant, or secretary were mainly tied to feminine qualities, while lawyer and  judge were connected to masculine traits. The same behavior has been observed emotion-wise. Other detected biases are regarding race. As LLMs find their way into healthcare systems, fears arise that they might perpetuate detrimental race-based medical practices, mirroring the biases inherent in the training data.

It’s essential for human intervention to oversee and correct these shortcomings, ensuring AI’s reliability. The key lies in using representative and unbiased data and conducting algorithmic audits to counteract these biases.

5. AI and the Job Market

One of the most widespread fears is that AI will lead to mass unemployment.

History, however, suggests that while technology might render certain jobs obsolete, it simultaneously births new industries and opportunities. For instance, the World Economic Forum projected that while AI might replace 85 million jobs by 2025, it will create 97 million new ones.

 6. The AI Takeover

The final and most dystopian one. Popular culture, with movies like The Matrix and Terminator, paints a grim picture of AI’s potential to enslave humanity.

While influential voices like Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking have expressed concerns, the current state of AI is far from this dystopian image.

Today’s AI models, such as ChatGPT, are designed to assist with specific tasks and don’t possess the capabilities or motivations depicted in sci-fi tales.

So for now… we are still safe!

Main Conclusions

In conclusion, as AI continues to evolve and integrate into our daily lives, it’s crucial to separate fact from fiction.

Only with a clear understanding can we harness its full potential and address its challenges responsibly. Myths can cloud judgment and impede progress.

Armed with knowledge and a clear understanding of AI’s actual scope, we can move forward, ensuring that the technology serves humanity’s best interests.

Source: 6 Artificial Intelligence Myths Debunked: Separating Fact from Fiction – KDnuggets

The 10 Biggest Cloud Computing Trends In 2024 Everyone Must Be Ready For Now

Worldwide, spending by businesses on cloud computing infrastructure is forecast to top $1 trillion for the first time in 2024. This will be driven by factors such as a growing need to adopt new platforms and as-a-service offerings, including artificial intelligence (AI) services.

This is because, in 2024, businesses are looking beyond the time-and-money-saving opportunities of cloud migration. Emerging use cases across all industries make it clear that it can often be the key to becoming more innovative, agile and successful.

For many businesses, there will still be significant challenges – often revolving around security and data protection issues. However, new models that seek to offer best-of-all-worlds solutions, like hybrid cloud and federated cloud systems, will continue to break down barriers.

In 2024, cloud will continue to be a dynamic and exciting driver of innovation and opportunity. Here’s my overview of what will be the most significant trends in this field.

AI As-A-Service

Hybrid And Multi-Cloud

The number of large organizations with a multi-cloud strategy (i.e., they buy cloud services from more than one provider) is predicted to rise from 76% to 85% during 2024. It offers cost and flexibility advantages but adds complexity to data governance and integration with legacy systems. Multi and hybrid cloud (mixing cloud with on-premises infrastructure) are advanced infrastructure solutions that will continue to grow in popularity as organizations seek to balance security with flexibility and pick and choose the services they need.

Real-Time Cloud Infrastructure

During 2024, organizations will increasingly look to leverage real-time data in order to get up-to-the-minute insights rather than acting on outdated, stale information. At the same time, more and more of the data we consume will come in the form of streamed data – movies and music from Netflix and Spotify, video data from Zoom or Teams calls, and new forms of streamed entertainment such as cloud gaming. This means data storage that prioritizes instant access, such as Flash and solid-state storage devices, will become increasingly in demand by cloud customers.

Cloud-Driven Innovation And Transformation

As well as AI mentioned above, adopting cloud computing technology can be a gateway to many other transformative technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain and quantum computing. By eliminating the need to invest directly in architecture and infrastructure, businesses are able to launch quick-win/fail-fast initiatives to evaluate the benefits of emerging technologies more easily than ever in 2024, thanks to cloud computing.

Cloud Security And Resilience

Encryption, authentication and disaster recovery are three functions of cloud computing services that will be increasingly in demand as we face up to the evolving threat landscape of 2024. Data thefts and breaches are increasing in frequency and severity as hackers develop new AI-powered forms of attack, and any system that has to be accessible to a human is always going to be at risk from social engineering attacks. This means security and resilience are high on the agenda of all cloud providers and customers.

Sustainable Cloud Computing

The big cloud service providers have all made net-zero commitments, not just for their own operations but in order to help customers who use their services to reduce their carbon footprints. Amazon has pledged to achieve zero emissions by 2040, and Microsoft aims to beat this by ten years. Along with Google, they have also all stated their intention to generate 100 percent of the energy used in their operations from renewable sources. Whether they make it remains to be seen, but the push for greener and less environmentally impactful cloud computing will be a strong trend in 2024.

Simplified Cloud Computing

Today, low-code/ no-code tools are opening up the possibility for non-technical people to create applications that previously would have required trained software engineers. Likewise, cloud providers are leveraging drag-and-drop interfaces and natural language tools to eliminate the need for advanced technical skills and “democratize” the deployment and management of cloud services and infrastructure.

Privacy In The Cloud

Cloud privacy refers to the ongoing development of technological, regulatory and legislative solutions designed to help businesses leverage cloud while ensuring their customers can trust that their data is fully protected. When a business uses a cloud service, it generally involves passing data to a third party – usually the cloud service provider. Managing the privacy implications of this will continue to be an important theme in cloud computing during 2024.

Serverless And Pay-As-You-Go Cloud

Serverless is a model of cloud computing service that eliminates the need for businesses to manage their own servers. While a typical cloud service might charge the business for the number of servers that they want to host their infrastructure on, under a serverless model, the business simply pays for the resources they directly use. This drives efficiency by eliminating the need to pay for servers even when they are not in use and frees up the business’s time to spend on their core activities.

Edge Computing Everywhere

Edge computing is a cloud-related paradigm in which information is processed as close as possible to the location where it’s collected. An example might be a wearable real-time heart monitor designed to pick up arrhythmias. As most of the data it collects would be “normal” heart rhythms, sending it all to the cloud for analysis, then back to the user to tell them everything is fine, would be a waste of bandwidth. Analyzing the data on the device itself eliminates this cost and also means the user can be alerted more quickly if anomalous data is detected. In 2024, smaller, more power-efficient processors, more memory-efficient algorithms, and advanced networks like 5G all contribute to making edge increasingly viable for a growing number of applications.

Source: The 10 Biggest Cloud Computing Trends In 2024 Everyone Must Be Ready For Now (

How are cybersecurity firms adapting to gen AI

Cybersecurity firms are increasingly looking at integrated platforms to provide holistic online security for both for their B2B and end users as disconnected point tools struggle to support enterprise security requirements

The main reason that cybersecurity companies give for focusing on development of integrated platforms is that they make it easier for companies to provide a comprehensive solution to a problem that is “categorised by its complexity and constant evolution” says Kartik Shahani, Country Manager, Tenable India.

What are integrated cybersecurity platforms?

Integrated platforms provide solutions to this problem. A 2020 IBM survey found that organisations deploy approximately 45 solutions on average, with most requiring coordination across 19 security tools.

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Integrated cybersecurity platforms “equip security teams with a holistic view of the entire attack surface and amalgamates diverse elements, including vulnerability management, cloud security, web app security, identity security, and attack surface management,” Shahani says.

Essentially, integrated platforms are better equipped at identifying threats, filling gaps in security, and mitigating threats due to the ability to collate and use information gathered from different areas of a network.

These platforms offer consolidated risk insights, exposure analytics, prioritises risk, recommends remediation strategies, and quantifies the reduction of cyber risk, he added.

Use of cloud-based computing has further allowed cybersecurity firms to provide access to their integrated platforms without requiring users to upgrade their systems. Integrated platforms from most firms have been designed to be easily integrated into organisation’s existing tech stacks, while also allowing customisations based on the user’s needs.

In some cases, “customers are beginning to pay on consumption basis rather than a subscription,” Binod Singh, CEO and Chairman, Cross Identity said.

Why are enterprises increasingly shifting to integrated platforms?

Integrated platforms are also increasingly finding takers in businesses due to their economic advantage, the lack of skilled personnel to manage security apparatus, and improved visibility of gaps in security for enterprises.

Businesses looking to cut costs may pivot to integrated platforms as there is minimal overlap in the implementation and identification of security products. Further, the use of integrated platforms also allows enterprises to sidestep the problem of hiring cybersecurity experts, which can be a problem due to the lack of skilled personnel in the domain.

Are platforms the future of cybersecurity?

With the benefits of integrated platforms, B2B organisations with complex IT environments are increasingly adopting unified platforms for monitoring and responding to security threats.

“B2B organizations are embracing integrated cybersecurity systems because they provide robust protection, simplify management, offer cost savings, adapt to changing needs, support regulatory compliance, and enhance the ability to respond to threats quickly and effectively,” Ritesh Chopra, Director Sales & Field Marketing, India and SAARC Countries, Norton, said.

Small and medium-sized enterprises in India with a view to restrict expenditure, which earlier involved adopting multiple points solutions on individual licenses or subscriptions, are now increasingly turning to integrated platforms.  The adoption of these platforms is aimed at bolstering security posture in accordance with the laws of the land without the overwhelming costs and complexities associated with managing multiple standalone security tools.

An of integrated cybersecurity platforms has its benefits for enterprises, it poses a challenge for startups in the cybersecurity space which may struggle to finding the right constellation of cybersecurity experts to develop all the features needed be truly comprehensive. “Most often, the best experts are specialized in topics such as threat intelligence, malware analysis, application security, data loss prevention, network security, vulnerability management, AI, privacy, etc. Thers is also a shortage of these experts on the market, which indeed presents a challenge to startups,” Chopra said.

For the end users, integrated platforms allow cybersecurity companies to present users with an all-round security solution, which while may not be a silver bullet, ensures protection across devices which may not be possible with point security solutions.

Source: How are cybersecurity firms adapting to gen AI – The Hindu

Here’s Everything You Can Do With Copilot, the Generative AI Assistant on Windows 11

Despite plenty of misgivings, artificial intelligence—and in particular, generative AI that produces text and images from prompts—continues to be pushed into the hardware and software we use every day.

Microsoft has been active in the space, adding AI chatbot capabilities to its Bing search engine earlier this year, and it’s now previewing an early version of its new Copilot AI assistant in Windows 11.

Copilot has been built to “enhance your creativity and productivity,” Microsoft says, and it works in a similar way to Bing’s chatbot—capable of coming up with everything from travel advice to an original poem.

To get Copilot in Windows 11, make sure you’re running the very latest version of the operating system: Head to Windows Update in Settings to check (you might need to turn on the Get the latest updates as soon as they’re available toggle switch).

By default, you should see a Copilot button on the taskbar, which you can click to launch it (head to Personalization then Taskbar in Settings if you want to change this). You can also launch Copilot with the Win+C keyboard shortcut, or via the Start menu.

Text and Image Generation

If you’re completely new to generative AI, just dive in and try something: You can tell Copilot to compose a short poem, an introduction to a cover letter, or text for an email to a coworker. When you start a new chat, you’ll see you can choose between More CreativeMore Balanced, and More Precise conversation styles, just like Bing Chat on the web—so you can tweak how imaginative Copilot gets with its responses.

You’re not just limited to generating text though, because you can ask Copilot questions as well. Thanks to its links to Bing and the web, it can tell you about the must-see sights in a particular place, give you cooking and recipe tips, or offer advice on the best ways to fix a DIY problem around the home. You’ll see that the responses come with links to where the information has been sourced from online.

Screenshot of Copilot on Windows 11

After each response from Copilot, you’ll be given a list of suggested ways to continue the conversation, or you can come up with your own follow-up questions. If you want to start over again, click the New topic button (the blue bubble) at the bottom. Meanwhile, hover over any Copilot output with the cursor and you’ll see you can copy the text (as well as give feedback on how good the response was).

Copilot can code, too. Tell it what you want your code to do, and which language you want it in, and you’ll get formatted code back in return that you can copy and paste elsewhere. As with everything else that the AI bot does, you can ask for edits and tweaks to the original response, without having to start again from scratch.

Screenshot of Copilot on Windows 11

Thanks to Dall-E integration, Copilot is able to generate images as well. Tell it what you want a picture of, and in what style, and after a few moments you’ll get a choice of four options—together with follow-up ideas you can use to change the output (you might want to take something out of the scene or add something in, for example, or change some of the colors used).

Click on any image to see it full size and download it—these links actually open up on the web, showing how closely Copilot is currently linked to Bing Chat. There’s also an Add an image button in the input box, which you can use to upload pictures: Copilot can tell you about what’s in the picture, or use it as the basis of a new image.

Windows 11 Functions

Everything we’ve talked about so far matches what Bing Chat can already do on the web, and it’s really the integration with the Windows 11 operating system itself that sets Copilot apart. This is also the functionality that’s newest and still under construction—bear in mind that you’re using an early preview version of Copilot.

One basic task that Copilot is able to do is open up programs for you—just type “open” followed by the app name, and your bidding is done (you will see a confirmation dialog first, which seems somewhat redundant). Click on the microphone button in the input box, and you can speak out your requests instead, which you might find easier.

Screenshot of Copilot on Windows 11

As well as opening the apps in question, Copilot can also tell you how to use them or help with troubleshooting problems. A few suggestions along these lines will pop up every time you open up a program in Windows 11, so it can be a useful way of exploring what a particular software tool can do for you.

A variety of Windows 11 commands work in Copilot as well: Try “mute volume” for example, though it seems a rather convoluted way of doing it compared with just tapping an icon or pressing a button on your keyboard. Again, you’ll get a prompt dialog on screen, to make sure the AI bot is exactly sure about what it is you want to do


Other commands that work include “turn on do not disturb” and “turn on dark mode,” which both save you a trip through the Settings screens. Speaking of Settings, you can ask Copilot to bring up a particular options screen—relating to Wi-Fi, for example, or changing the configuration of the Start menu—and it’ll appear in a second or two (together with related instructions about how to use it).

What Copilot can’t do yet is much inside your programs—even the ones developed by Microsoft. For it to be a truly useful digital AI assistant, it would be helpful for it to be able to view and manipulate elements inside apps: Right now, this only works with Edge, and you can enable this by clicking the three dots (top right), then Settings, and turning on the Let Copilot in Windows use Microsoft Edge content toggle switch.

Source: Here’s Everything You Can Do With Copilot, the Generative AI Assistant on Windows 11 | WIRED UK

Connecting to a Digital World of Work – Catalyse Your Business’ Growth with The Cloud 

Over the last 2 decades, no technology has had more of an impact on workplace IT than the Cloud. From small-scale data storage to the infrastructure that hosts large-scale corporate networks, cloud computing services offer versatile, scalable resources that can be adapted to the needs of large and small businesses alike. 

As you read this, it’s likely your business utilises cloud computing to some degree. From storage services like Dropbox and workplace productivity suites like Microsoft 365, to hosting solutions for websites or databases, the cloud has helped many businesses remain competitive and agile over the last decade. Today, it’s estimated that around 94% of companies leverage cloud computing services in one form or another. 

Despite the clamour to embrace the cloud in recent years, many businesses remain cautious about exploring further uses for cloud computing in their operations. This can often be attributed to misconception about the cloud, such as unfounded fears that it affords less privacy and control than on-premise hosting solutions. However, with careful configuration, and strategic guidance from a committed IT support provider, cloud computing can be a powerful force for business growth, delivering the flexible, cost-efficient and remote-ready solutions businesses need to stay competitive in today’s dynamic business environment.  

Here are 4 ways Cloud computing can be harnessed to create value and drive growth in your business. 

Empower Effective Collaboration 

The access-anywhere nature of the cloud makes it an ideal fit for businesses looking to unite remote workforces. We saw this during the covid pandemic, which at its peak, saw almost half the UK workforce working remotely. Communication Platforms like Microsoft Teams and Zoom became household names, as smaller companies in particular chose cloud applications as the default tools for remote workforces. 

While many of us have returned to the office, remote access solutions remain an integral feature of business IT, giving employees a degree of flexibility in their work schedules by retaining working-from-home as a viable option. While technologies like remote access VPNs and SD-WAN provide an option for secure remote access to business resources, cloud-hosting and cloud-based applications remain one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to facilitate effective collaboration. 

One solution that has arguably revolutionised workplace collaboration more than any other, is the world’s pre-eminent workplace productivity suite: Microsoft 365. Providing scalable file storage, a class-leading virtual meeting platform, customisable collaboration spaces, powerful task management features, plus several options for implementing workflow automation, Microsoft 365 delivers the tools and capabilities businesses need to empower focussed and efficient collaboration, both remotely and in the office. 

Live document collaboration allows multiple Microsoft 365 users to collaborate on the same document in real-time, with revisions made immediately saved to the cloud. Plus, hundreds of third-party integrations allows businesses to customise their Microsoft 365 environment with the tools they’re already using, with support for the likes of Saleforce, Asana, Hubspot and Trello. 

Streamline Workflows with BPA and AI 

In 2022, the global cloud computing market was valued at $569.31 billion. By 2030, that figure is expected to hit $2.432 trillion. These forecasts illustrate the growth in cloud computing that’s still to come, as businesses both big and small expand their cloud footprint even further. As the cloud continues to grow, tech companies will shift their focus even further into the domain of cloud computing. This could leave businesses without a cloud presence unable to access the latest innovations, and the disruptive technologies that are likely to transform how we live and work over the coming years and decades.  

Examples include technologies like AI and Machine learning, which have already made waves in the business technology space, with applications ranging from chatbots and data analysis to predictive security tools and sales forecasting.  

Business process automation (BPA) represents another unexplored frontier for many businesses, with the cloud providing the easiest route-of-entry to this efficiency-boosting technology. From cloud-based accounting software that can automate expense management, invoice filing and financial reporting, to human resources management systems that deliver automation for payroll, employee onboarding and performance management, cloud-hosted software provides countless opportunities to introduce automation to your business’s workflows. 

The cloud even provides options for introducing simple, no-code automations to rule-based repetitive tasks like data entry, data validation and form filling. Robotic process automation (RPA) platforms allow organisations to integrate applications that would otherwise require manual data transfer, thus giving staff more time to focus on activities that provide strategic business benefits.  

In summary, by enabling seamless cross platform integration, and delivering the innovative tools businesses need to streamline time-consuming processes, the cloud is a compelling IT ecosystem for businesses that are keen to achieve efficiency-powered growth. Migrating to the cloud now will also ensure you’re able to exploit emerging technologies, helping you remain productive and competitive in an age of fast-paced technological change. 


Enjoy Enhanced Security 

In the past, the notion of the cloud being inherently less secure than on-premise hosting was a myth in widespread circulation. Today, many businesses are realising that this simply isn’t the case, with as many as 94% reporting security improvements following cloud adoption. 

Thanks to cyber security budgets amounting to billions of dollars, and data centres that feature advanced, enterprise-grade protections to defend against both cyber and physical threats, leading cloud services are safeguarded by defences most SMEs would struggle to establish in-house.  

Microsoft Azure provides a good example of the types of protections applied to the data centres of large cloud service providers. Some of the key cyber security protections and measures incorporated in Azure’s data centres include: 

  • Encryption, applied to data both in transit and at rest. 
  • Firewalls and Network Security that features protective measures against fast-moving DDoS attacks. 
  • Threat Intelligence and Monitoring Center, featuring 3500 dedicated cyber security experts. 
  • Robust Physical Protections to safeguard the integrity of data centre sites, including 24/7 surveillance, biometric authentication and a continuous security presence. 

Furthermore, many cloud platforms feature inbuilt security features that users can configure to further improve their security posture and safeguard sensitive data. Microsoft’s 365 data loss prevention features and advanced authentication protocols provide a good case in point, empowering users to take action to prevent unauthorised access to sensitive information in accordance with the stipulations of regulations such as the GDPR.  

Other security controls and capabilities on offer include encryption, automated security updates and real-time threat detection and response that’s capable of providing network-wide identification and live threat neutralisation. 

While cyber security may not seem instinctively related to business growth, it’s important to remember how damaging and potentially ruinous cyber breach events can be for small businesses, with as many as 60% of small businesses ceasing to trade following a data breach or cyber-attack. By embracing the cloud therefore, you help to protect the long-term success and viability of your business, by hosting your critical services and data in an environment equipped with some of the best security technologies around. 

Reduce IT Spending 

Growing businesses need fiscal headroom, and one of the ways to achieve this is by reducing operational expenditure.  

The cloud allows businesses to run resource-efficient, cost-effective IT infrastructure thanks to flexible pricing mechanisms that are responsive to changing business demands. Pay-as-you-go, pay-per-user, reserved instances, and spot instances are just some of the pricing models used by cloud service providers, which give businesses the ability to scale-up and down according to fluctuating needs, and avoid the resource overprovisioning that’s so common in on-premise hosting setups.  

Cloud-hosting provides a cost-effective alternative to housing databases, applications, email servers and other critical IT services in-house, and avoids the substantial capital expenditures that tend to accompany network and server infrastructure upgrades. Thanks to the flexible pricing models we’ve just mentioned, businesses can provision networking resources, storage, virtual machines, compute power and more without having to purchase deploy and manage the host infrastructure, thus avoiding maintenance and hardware lifecycle expenses. 

Traditional IT projects can be a costly undertaking, with equipment acquisition, consultancy and installation costs capable of driving capital expenditure so high that many small businesses defer making vital infrastructure upgrades. By converting these capital expenses into manageable operational expenditure, the cloud makes it easy for resource-constrained businesses to run cutting-edge, growth-enabling IT infrastructure. 


With a wealth of deployment options, SME-friendly pricing, and platforms that put efficiency-saving technologies within the reach of small businesses, the cloud provides endless opportunities for organisations keen on using technology as a catalyst for growth. Start a conversation with your IT support provide on ways to leverage the cloud to grow your business in the years ahead. 

4TC Managed IT Services – Uniting People, Processes and Technology 

Secure, stable and optimised IT infrastructure is critical to the success of all businesses in our information age. 4TC helps businesses across London and the Southeast realise their potential through the delivery of expertly managed IT services and support, and solutions that solve business challenges by achieving perfect alignment between people, processes and technology. Get assistance with your IT challenges today by getting in touch, we’ll be glad to assist you!  

Connecting To a Digital World of Work – The Problem with Legacy Technology 

Over the last decade, Enterprise IT has evolved at an unprecedented rate, with each passing year introducing innovative new technologies and solutions. Despite the rate of progress however, many organisations remain committed to running outdated legacy systems, which are thought to account for around 30% of the workplace technology we interact with. 

So, what do we mean by ‘legacy technology?’ Legacy technology has no strict definition, but it generally refers to digital systems considered outdated by modern standards. Such systems are likely to integrate poorly with modern equivalents and may no longer be supported or maintained by their original developers. They are likely to segregate data, and provide no convenient option for the introduction of automation, resulting in inefficient, clunky workflows that demand a high degree of user interaction and manual data handling. 

Here at 4TC, we provide IT support, management and solutions to SMEs across London and the Southeast. Our mission is to empower businesses with secure, optimised and reliable technology that supports sustained business growth and success. One of the ways we deliver on these aims is by helping businesses identify ways to tackle persistent challenges and issues using the best modern solutions. This practice is otherwise known as ‘Digital Transformation.’ 

What is a Digital Transformation? 

A digital transformation is a process or strategy that leverages advancements in technology to fundamentally change how a business operates and delivers value to its customers. The objective of digital transformation is to improve efficiency, competitiveness, customer satisfaction, security and innovation, in an age when digital adoption is so integral to business success.  

We accept that the term ‘digital transformation’ can seem a bit misleading or ambiguous, after all, every business uses digital technology in one way or another. It’s best to think of a digital transformation as an ongoing, evolutionary process rather than a fixed state. Your business embraces digital transformation by considering inefficiencies, bottlenecks and pain points across your digital environment, and devising ways to tackle these issues by aligning processes with up-to-date solutions that perform to the standards today’s employees and customers expect. 

For many businesses, slow, inefficient, and poorly integrated legacy technology is one of the greatest stumbling blocks to undertaking a comprehensive digital transformation. 

Why is Legacy Technology So Problematic?  

Some of the legacy solutions still used by businesses today can trace their roots all the way back to the 70s, 80s and 90s. In those early days of digital evolution, the capabilities available to developers, and as a result, the priorities of the developers themselves, were very different to those of today. The result is applications and programmes that fall significantly short of modern performance and security standards, and that fail to offer the features, capabilities and integrations today’s users expect.  

Despite the obvious shortcomings, legacy systems remain entrenched in the operations of many SMEs, underpinning some of their most critical functions and processes. There is a natural reluctance among many business owners to explore a replacement for these systems, with concerns often expressed about the cost, disruption, risks and learning curve involved in the migration process. As we’ll explore in our next blog, many of these fears are unfounded, with modern alternatives to legacy technologies offering low-impact deployment, minimal upfront costs and intuitive user interfaces that require little in the way of staff training.  

Let’s now look at 6 key reasons your business should consider a replacing its legacy technology sooner rather than later: 

Poor Security 

Many of the legacy applications still in use today date back to the latter decades of the 20th century. This was a period of rapid change, but one in which the cyber security landscape was vastly different to how it is today. Software developers in those days, focussed on speed of delivery, often rushing out programmes that contained significant code flaws and security vulnerabilities. Often, little consideration was given to cyber security, in fact, it could be argued that even Microsoft didn’t take security seriously until the early 2000s. 

This culture of cyber security complacency coupled with software development practices that prioritised speed of delivery over code integrity, resulted in systems laced with security vulnerabilities, and programmes that lack the security controls and protocols today’s hostile threat landscape necessitates. 

Challenging Maintenance 

Using unsupported software is not only risky from a data security standpoint, it can also present distinct maintenance challenges and heighten business continuity risks.  

Outdated coding languages, like COBOL for instance, are becoming increasingly difficult to support, as professionals familiar with it are retiring out of the industry. As such skills become rarer, they subsequently become more expensive, resulting in growing maintenance costs over time.  

Maintenance struggles become particularly acute when business-critical faults that require urgent attention arise. If such a scenario were to develop, you could find yourself struggling to locate an engineer with the niche skills and knowledge required to reinstate your vital systems. In a worst-case scenario, this could leave you without the applications you need to run your business and serve your customers effectively, for a prolonged period of time. 

Data Silos 

A data silo refers to a depository of information that sits in isolation, lacking the ability to be easily shared and integrated with other digital systems or departments within an organisation. Data silos present efficiency challenges and inhibit a business’s ability to harness data as a means to drive value creation.  

Many legacy systems were developed in a time when data analysis was only common practice among larger companies, and when manual data handling was simply considered an unavoidable fact-of-life. As such many systems feature no cross-platform compatibility by default, isolating strategically valuable information, and providing no option for data transfer between systems other than slow, inefficient manual data entry. Siloed data stands as a barrier to collaboration, damages productivity, prohibits the use of business process automation and makes it more difficult to leverage insights from data across your business. 

Hardware Degradation 

Many legacy applications are incompatible with modern IT infrastructure, and as such, require archaic hardware to be maintained to support it. As this hardware ages, components begin slowing down and performance issues escalate into recurring system outages that hamper business productivity and damage staff morale. 

Additionally, outdated hardware is less likely to support or integrate with modern security tools, leaving the data stored in legacy systems more vulnerable to cyber-attacks and data breaches. 

Continuing to operate aging hardware to support your legacy applications could therefore be subjecting your data to an unacceptable level of risk, and leave staff struggling with buggy, slow and unreliable technology that falls well below modern performance standards.  

Damage to Your Business’s image 

Legacy systems are rarely easy on the eye. They look old fashioned because they are old fashioned, often featuring dated user interfaces that lack the finesse and crisp graphics found on modern systems. Using a legacy system in any capacity, be it public-facing or not, may portray your business as stuck-in-the-past and reluctant to innovate, damaging your image, and eroding confidence in your service or product offering. 

Dated technology can also impact employee satisfaction. Slow, unreliable and unintuitive technology can leave staff feeling demoralised, and can make it harder to deliver a high-quality customer experience, particularly in embarrassing situations where customers are aware of the issues and limitations of your technology.  

By operating legacy technology, you leave your business vulnerable to reputational damage that could see you lose the trust of customers, and you run the risk of missing out on new opportunities and revenue streams. 

Compliance Becomes an Uphill Struggle 

Depending on the type of information your legacy technology hosts, you could find it very difficult to take the steps necessary to achieve compliance with data protection regulations like UK GDPR.  

Under such regulations, data controllers are required to defend the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of personal information, using a range of technical and organisational controls and measures, including the likes of firewalls, anti-malware measures, user access controls, data backups and rigorous authentication protocols. Due to a lack of centralised oversight and widespread compatibility issues with modern security tools, legacy technology makes satisfying the requirements of leading data protection regimes an uphill struggle. This could leave sensitive data susceptible to misuse, loss, theft, accidental deletion, or unauthorised access, and could result in fines issued against your organisation for non-compliance. 


From security vulnerabilities that expose data to online threats, to data silos that present obstacles to automation and collaboration, legacy technology can represent a serious barrier to running a secure, productive, resilient and compliant operation that supports the growth ambitions of your business. By embracing digital transformation, you create a synergy between your technology processes and people, enabling a productive, secure and streamlined workplace.  

In our next article we introduce some of the compelling modern alternatives to legacy technology and explore some of the benefits that businesses can unleash by undertaking a digital transformation.  

4TC Managed IT Services – Uniting People, Processes and Technology 

Secure, stable and optimised IT infrastructure is critical to the success of all businesses in our information age. 4TC helps businesses across London and the Southeast realise their potential through the delivery of expertly managed IT services and support, and solutions that solve business challenges by achieving perfect alignment between people, processes and technology. Get assistance with your IT challenges today by getting in touch, we’ll be glad to assist you!