With IBM Think 2019 and HIMSS19 in the books, it’s worth making time for a quick debrief. Which topics resonated the most with attendees? Where did conference themes and discussions overlap? And what’s on the horizon for global cybersecurity this year and beyond?

Key Takeaways From Think 2019 and HIMSS19

According to IBM CEO, President and Chairman Ginni Rometty in her Think opening address, “chapter two” of digital transformation has arrived. For Rometty, this next chapter is scalable, driven by artificial intelligence (AI) and embedded across the enterprise. But without information architecture, she noted, “there is no AI.”

Trust underpins every aspect of effective digital transformation. This ties into IBM’s biggest push during the conference: Watson Anywhere. Built on the open-source orchestration engine Kubernetes, the microservices-based Watson Anywhere empowers organizations to run AI across the cloud environment of their choice, in effect democratizing AI technology to meet consumers along the path of their digital transformation journey — wherever they may be.

HIMSS19, meanwhile, had a clear focus on patient data, specifically the development of interoperability rules that prevent data blocking and empower effective information sharing. But there was also significant overlap with IBM’s initiatives; as Healthcare Dive reported, cloud and AI innovations were on full display at the Orlando event. Even more telling was the conference’s tag line, “Champions of Health Unite,” which speaks to the democratization and rapid uptake of healthcare technology, in turn allowing patients to manage their own healthcare experiences.

Hot Topics in San Francisco and Orlando

In San Francisco, IBM thought leaders, innovators and industry front-runners provided hundreds of great sessions for attendees, covering topics from AI acceleration to quantum computing and innovative security. Highlights included:

  • Accelerating the Journey to AIWhile 80 percent of organizations recognize the strategic potential of AI, just 19 percent understand what’s required to convert potential into profitability. State of New Jersey Judiciary CIO Jack McCarthy was joined by IBM Cloud and Cognitive Software Senior Vice President Arvind Krishna and other experts to help attendees develop a prescriptive approach to AI development across any cloud.
  • Innovation Doesn’t Happen Without Security. And Security Needs InnovationGlobal security challenges demand innovative technologies capable of doing more than responding to threats as they occur. But the innovation required to stay ahead of your competition isn’t possible without a solid security foundation. In this session, IBM Security General Manager Mary O’Brien, Westfield Insurance CISO Kevin Baker and former professional racecar driver Danica Patrick tackled the cyclical challenge of security, innovation and IT evolution.
  • The Journey to Cloud Community CrowdChat — In a more free-form session, the #Think2019 conference community CrowdChat tackled the challenge of cloud transition. According to Silicon Angle, chat participants highlighted both emerging needs for cloud-native tools capable of delivering “unprecedented flexibility” and commensurate security practices that drive both effective application development and DevOps processes.
  • Access the Future Today: Quantum ComputingWhile quantum computing has largely been confined to high-level enterprise use, this IBM session — led by Dr. Dario Gil, director of IBM Research — spoke to the development of road maps for mainstream adoption of cloud computing and how businesses could benefit from quantum solutions in the near term.

At HIMSS, meanwhile, hot conference topics included:

  • Patient-Centric Health Information ExchangeDisparate health information management systems are causing problems for physicians and patients alike. In this session, IBM Blockchain Solutions Architect Shahryar Sedghi and AT&T Director of Healthcare Solutions Thyge Knuhtsen helped define the requirements for patient-centric healthcare interoperability resources that leverage tools such as blockchain to “liberate” personal healthcare data.
  • Combating Cyberattacks with a Security ResidencyJennifer Kady, director of IBM Security solutions for the U.S. public sector, tackled the increasing risk of cybersecurity incidents with a new solution: security “residencies” that help train healthcare IT teams to effectively respond in the event of an attack.
  • Mitigating the Next Generation of Risk: Connected Medical DevicesThe use of connected medical devices is on the rise, but just 51 percent of device manufacturers follow FDA guidance to mitigate risks. This session focused on the development of programmatic, end-to-end security approaches to secure both IT assets and medical devices.
  • Reactions from the Field: AIThree industry leaders came together for a discussion of healthcare AI in the field. What’s working, what isn’t and what needs to change? From streamlining workflows and eliminating repetitive tasks, cloud-based AI has real potential for healthcare if companies can leverage clean, normalized “good data” to make accurate predictions and take critical action.

The Future of Global Security

Cybersecurity is now a serious global concern. For healthcare organizations, this is reflected in the $1.4 million it costs to recover from “average” cyberattacks, according to HealthITSecurity, and worrisome data from Proofpoint that shows health-focused email attacks are up 473 percent over the last two years. For IBM, AI-driven digital transformations aren’t possible without the solid foundation of innovative security and consumer trust.

Taken together, the topics and keynotes from both conferences suggest three emerging trends for cybersecurity in 2019:

  • Intelligence-driven response — Innovation drives success, and security is no exception. The rise of any-cloud AI makes innovative, intelligence-led incident response (IR) an attainable goal, and one that will quickly become necessary as threat actors leverage their own versions of AI to compromise global targets.
  • Personalized accountability — Patient healthcare data is an incredibly valuable resource. While the shift to “unblocked” data offers more granular control for patients and caregivers alike, it also speaks to the need for increased accountability; from connected devices to security readiness, enterprises must be prepared to defend data both at scale and in-situ.
  • Open data defense — Interoperability is critical for healthcare data, and data sharing is paramount for advanced AI systems. As data becomes more “open,” organizations must leverage advanced solutions such as quantum computing and IBM X-Force residencies to help defend this critical resource.

We’re only a few months into the year, but HIMSS19 and Think 2019 have already helped shape this year’s focus on enterprise transformation, innovation and global cybersecurity.

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