Cloudflare 2024 Predictions


Spokesperson: John Engates, Field CT,O Cloudflare

1. Executives, beware the AI knowledge gap. Your productivity and profit depend on it.
The AI divide is deepening, the result of C-suites that chose to invest–or ignore–AI investments. The result? A new class of “have-nots” that operate at status quo while the AI-savvy gain surges in productivity thanks to teams that are equipped with efficiency-creating AI tools. Across industries, this divide will solidify the leaders and brands that can navigate the torrents of the economic landscape and come out on top, today and through the coming years.

2. Cloud captors are in for a rude awakening.
IT teams are being squeezed by shrinking budgets and cloud environments that are growing endlessly with complexity. Ballooning cloud bills will no longer be ignored as IT practitioners begin their mission to consolidate vendors wherever possible. Amidst the chaos in the cloud, platforms that promote connectivity and observability will edge out their competitors, while clouds that hold data captive on their platforms will not survive.

Vertical: CIO/IT Practitioners
Spokesperson: Rebecca Weekly, VP of Infrastructure Engineering, Cloudflare

1. Supply chain challenges are about to get much worse in the age of AI.
As AI continues to proliferate, supply chain challenges will become insurmountable – making the mid-pandemic global supply chain crisis of 2021 look like a walk in the park by comparison. Businesses will have no choice than to lean into software optimisations, focused on training more task-focused models from foundational models to reduce the computational footprint required, and make solutions more achievable with smaller compute footprints.

2. Sustainability will step back into the spotlight in the initial wake of the AI hype cycle.
The AI hype cycle significantly slowed sustainability efforts in 2023, and a trend that is quite literally unsustainable as we go into next year. Skyrocketing demand for compute and AI, global conflict in regions that supply oil and gas, and unexpected extreme weather events will continue to drive up the cost of electricity. Sustainability will need to step back into focus, with a dedicated commitment – from individuals to entities – on reducing the Watts we consume to save power for others in our data centre regions and ensuring that we are scaling efficiently for the years to come.

3. There will be no AI without storage. There is no AI without the data to train and infer.
We have to be able to move and store information to glean insights, especially when the largest public clouds haven’t had enough GPUs to support the current demand. Being able to own and manage your own data so you can find the compute you need where you need it has become even more critical. We will continue to see large spikes in the use of storage, and businesses will focus on efficient and effective ways to store data responsibly, so they can get the most out of it while staying compliant in the midst of increased regulations.

Vertical: CSO/Security
Spokesperson: Grant Bourzikas, CSO Cloudflare

1. The knowledge gap between security professionals who understand AI and those who do not will be the number one reason for any shift in the balance of power to threat actors. Whether or not the usage of AI is giving attackers a leg up is the wrong question to be asking. AI is here to stay, so the right question is whether or not security leaders possess the skills required or will invest the time to upskill and learn how to handle what is becoming the largest revolution ever seen in technology. Both harnessing the power of this technology and defending against it, hinges on the ability to connect the conceptual to the tangible. If the security industry fails to demystify AI and its potential malicious use cases, 2024 will be a field day for threat actors.

2. The AI arms race will officially commence, and the first AI model breach will take place. Organisations of all types are aggressively adopting and beginning to rely on models to carry out critical business functions. Moreover, organisations are leaning heavily on AI to maintain a competitive edge, with Wall Street upgrading the stocks of companies that mention AI and punishing those who are seemingly behind the technology curve. As with any technology that becomes a crucial piece to an organisation’s success, it increasingly becomes a top target for threat actors to inflict significant damage. Organisations rushing to join this revolution without the proper precautions put in place are opening themselves up as a low hanging fruit for model tampering and breaches – ones that could have the power to impact everything from critical care, banking systems, power grids etc.

3. The only way to fight against AI is with AI… if you have already mastered the basics. Defending against AI ultimately means defending against all human knowledge indexed. Information sharing exists at an order of magnitude faster and is more efficiently exchanged than ever before. Security pros protecting their organisations in the era of infinite information face challenges never seen before. But if the industry has historically struggled with doing the simple things well, over pivoting to solve issues using AI will be mostly benign. Sometimes the best way to mitigate attacks is by going back to foundational elements of detection and mitigation.

4. The next cutting-edge security technology that will hit the market in 2024 will be the ability to identify and eliminate the usage of deep fakes on social media and in modern media. One of the main goals of a threat actor is to erode trust, and one of the most useful tools to achieve this is by leveraging deep fakes. While deep fakes have been around for years, today’s versions are more realistic than ever. Untrained eyes and ears cannot discern what is fake… and with today’s versions more realistic than ever, trained eyes and ears also fail to identify deep fakes.

5. The number one focus for customers in 2024 will be around achieving resilience. The Internet has become a pillar of critical infrastructure, and this year will become more dangerous than ever. In 2024 the number one concern of our customers will be resilience. As more zero-days, flaws in popular software, supply chain issues and threat actor tactics evolve and come to fruition, organisations are hyper vigilant on the steps they can take to remain protected. Responsible disclosure will be a critical pillar in upholding resilience – no matter the priorities or style of the CISO. Managing incidents like zero-days isn’t as simple as “run the patch, now you’re done.” In 2024, security leaders will begin the mindset shift towards turning incident management, patching, and evolving security protections into ongoing processes. Mitigations like patches for each variant of a vulnerability may reduce your risk, but they never fully eliminate it.

Vertical: Developer
Spokesperson: Rita Kozlov, Senior Product Director, Developer Platform, Cloudflare

1. Surging AI bills will land on devs.
As AI experimentation skyrockets, so do AI bills. Developer teams will be required to answer for this AI spend; CFOs will not accept unbounded and unpredictable costs for much longer and there will be added pressure to prove the return on investment. Tools offering insights, guardrails, and monitoring, especially in experimentation, are going to be critical for every dev team’s AI arsenal.

2. Developers: the AI tools you choose will define your career.
Frontend developers must redefine their role in the AI era. As AI excels in code generation, showcasing creativity and unique skills is crucial. Failure risks fewer frontend roles and a surge in indistinguishable AI-generated websites. Established frameworks hold an edge over newer ones. Developer choices will shape the job market and influence evolving development processes.



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