Global ICT research and consulting services firm, International Data Corporation (IDC), has predicted that South Africa will fall victim to at least one high-profile public breach.

According to the IDC, the breach is likely to be a data leak within the public sector – although the company cannot rule out a malware or ransomware attack in retail or healthcare in 2017.

The IDC noted that 2016 was also a tough year for information security, with the prevalence of massive data leaks, ransomware and Internet of Things (IoT) malware compounded by a shortage of IT security skills.

A reflection of the country’s continued exposure to cybercrime and the prevalence of data leaks, ransomware and IoT malware in 2016 formed part of IDC’s list of predictions for 2017 – a year the IDC suggests will be marked by more innovation impacting on traditional ICT, as well as a strong focus on technology to enable business outcomes.

“We believe 2017 will be worse in every aspect of information security,” said Research Manager for IT services at IDC South Africa, Jon Tullett.

“We expect continued exposure for South African businesses to major cybercrime syndicates, both directly and indirectly. However, IDC expects that South Africa will contribute several new technologies aimed thwarting attacks, particularly in relation to IoT applications,” continued Tullett.

In 2015 the IDC predicted that digital transformation will come to the fore and lay the foundation for the further rollout of smart city successes. It also forecast that Africa’s IT security and physical security would become more connected, and there would be a shift to what it called tighter, more digitised supply chains in both the public and private sector.

SA’s public health sector is already making strides in digitising pharmaceutical services for efficient management of medicines. The National Department of Health (NDoH) has initiated various interventions to improve the distribution of medicines including deploying the Stock Visibility Solution (SVS) in partnership with Vodacom to monitor drug stock levels and reduce drug stock-outs in 3,126 clinics across the country.

Furthermore, the forecast predicts that the next wave of ICT development in South Africa will see organisations across the country doing more with less while consolidating and outsourcing legacy IT.

“We have seen a very strong focus on datacentre infrastructure and operations during the past year,” said IDC’s Associate Vice President for Sub-Saharan Africa, Mark Walker.

“Information security and enterprise software have also been among the top three priorities for CIOs during the same period. Interestingly, cloud computing was only at number seven of the top priorities, which is unexpected considering the global rush to the cloud as a driver of digital transformation and business agility,” continued Walker.

A report released in 2014 revealed that the cloud computing healthcare market is set to be worth $5.4 billion by 2017. Despite this prediction, South Africa has lagged behind in cloud adoption due to the lack of local infrastructure, data protection concerns and conservative investment strategies, says Tullett.

“IDC believes 2017 will see at least one major global cloud provider establishing local datacentre infrastructure to service the region,” said Tullett.

“This will address key concerns and spur competition and adoption while putting pressure on local providers. New public cloud spend will overtake on-premise in areas such as collaborative applications, application development software and platforms, and customer relationship management (CRM),” continued Tullett.

The IDC recommends that organisations continue to invest in a private cloud but develop the capabilities to transition workloads into public cloud as circumstances change.

Furthermore, the IDC expects the number of mobile enterprise applications to almost double as the shift from devices to mobile apps accelerates, and local companies to increase their investment in analytics and big data.

“Behavioural analysis and prediction will become mainstream in 2017, directly driving product development in banking, financial services and insurance in particular. In 2017, analytics will be the primary resource responsible for thwarting major criminal incidents,” concluded Tullett.

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