We live in a world of rapid changes. In the blink of an eye, it can feel like we’ve traveled another decade through time. Technology and business are changing so quickly, it’s hard to keep up. Luckily, with new changes come new opportunities, so it’s not as dark and stormy as the news headlines might lead us to believe. 

It comes as no surprise that technology and business are at the forefront of change. With new products, services, and technologies popping up daily, change is inevitable. This industry is becoming increasingly global, meaning we’re being subject to new insights and also new obstacles at the scale continues to increase quickly. 

From legislation to innovation, business owners and tech companies from all backgrounds are looking for new ways to make an impact online. In this guide, we’ll uncover six critical IT and business issues in 2019 that you’ll need to consider in the coming months and years. How can you act on these challenges?

1. The Net Neutrality Crisis

Net neutrality is a complex issue, and it’s gotten quite the spotlight in the last few months. While most of the attention has slowly shifted elsewhere, that’s not to say we need to stop the conversation about net neutrality? Net neutrality is the idea that internet service providers (ISPs) should enable access to applications and online content equally, without favoring certain websites or providers. 

The death of net neutrality officially happened on June 11th in 2018, and since then we’ve been at a bit of a standstill. Since net neutrality is no longer a law, we now live in a world where ISPs could potentially offer faster streaming to preferred services. Essentially, we’re left with a pay-to-play online landscape, and this could spell big disaster for startups and new applications. 

2. Cyber Threats

If you’ve watched the news recently, you already know cybercrime is at an all-time high. Attackers from across the globe are targeting businesses, software, and any other data they can get their hands on. It’s not only big-name businesses that are at risk. A startling 60% of all small companies go out of business within 6 months of a cybersecurity attack.

What does this mean for IT and business? It means we need more security at every level of business operations and beyond. In the development world, server log analysis software is no longer optional. In the business world, we need more education and security measures to keep businesses of all sizes safe. It’s simply not reasonable to hide your head in the sand and assume no problems will affect your business as far as security is concerned. All data and all technology is at risk, no matter how large or small.

3. Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is here to stay, and it’s drastically changing the workplace. Automated software is freeing up human attention so people have to focus less on repetitive, time-consuming tasks. This is good news for businesses of all sizes that rely on human help to get the job done. 

We’re also seeing a shift in workspaces as a result of AI. Now, employees can work from virtually anywhere. With remote-accessible spaces, companies are able to hire employees from all geographic locations to better suit their needs, and workers have more flexibility. 

4. Soft Skills

This is a trend that has more to do with hiring, but it’s affecting the business and IT world most intensely. Because AI tools are taking over those mindless tasks of the past, we’re left with a huge need for creative, analytical thinkers. These are known as soft-skills, and they’re more important than ever before.

In the past years, companies would exclusively look for hard-skills on prospective employees’ resumes. They’d want to see tech skills, business knowledge, and more. Today, creativity and the ability to learn are becoming chiefly parament, since most other skills can be taught or even handled by a machine. In the next few years, there needs to be a shift away from “hard skills” into these new areas of focus. From casting a wider net of applicants to expanding educational programs, these changes can’t come soon enough. 

5. Data privacy

The General Data Protection & Regulation (GDPR) regulation came into effect in May 2018 and affects businesses operating in the European Union as well as any business holding or processing data of EU citizens. GDPR compliance is a big challenge for any business and needs to be accounted not just for business communications, but also for any sort of business activity, including market research, consumer surveys and employee data collection.

6. DevOps Organizations

Finally, the DevOps philosophy is spilling out of IT and coming into the rest of the world. All businesses are beginning to adopt an agile workplace where silos are broken down and people are encouraged to work together to produce more. 

This is all due to a reliance on data and a need to continuously produce more products and services in order to keep up with demand. However, the focus on development, learning, and risk-taking will spell success.

All of these issues might seem like a lot to overcome, but they’re already being tackled. IT and business leaders are currently welcoming a new generation of change. So much progress has been made, and it’s only a matter of time until these things become nothing but a past obstacle. How are you rising to these new issues in 2019? What do you think is next on the horizon?