The biggest challenge to IT in the future is security. Security could negatively impact connectivity to public networks. If these problems cannot be successfully addressed, I envision a time of closed, private networks and less information sharing. The risks now are so great and getting worse every day that we even see foreign governments toppling superpowers the way Russia toppled the US and put its puppet in charge because of weak controls and poor security.
The biggest problem isn’t the machines, it’s the people involved at every level, inside and out. I worked in computer security for many years and I can see it’s almost hopeless. In my last role I surveyed hospital security in the US. In many cases IT didn’t even rescind authentication privileges of employees fired for as long as six months. The biggest threats are not from the outside – they are insider threats, both innocent and malicious. Even well meaning people in Government, for example, leave lap tops with classified information on buses by accident. People in the office find security too inconvenient and find ways to get around it. Malicious people shoulder-surf or use social engineering. In a previous job we had a “White Hat” hacker who socially-engineered himself into a secure control room of a nuclear power plant.
And this doesn’t even take into account the plethora of tools being used by malicious individuals and governments to defeat security, steal money and information and set themselves up to blackmail businesses and other leaders. AI will not solve this problem because the biggest issue isn’t the machines. The weakness is in the people. And unless we can find some way to eliminate or ameliorate that problem, then the future of IT, at least in the public domain, is going to change to a more locked-up state. I have even thought that devolution to something like SNA architecture is possible because at least air-gapped internal networks are harder to compromise and easier to secure from insider threats.