From changes to our daily routines to a possible global rebalancing of power, our world will forever be changed by the coronavirus pandemic. After many sleepless nights spent scouring the web for opinions and predictions, here are 3 trends experts believe will fundamentally affect the digital world.

Regulatory Barriers be Gone

It’s crunch time for regulators. The economic shock caused by the pandemic has forced companies in troves to seek refuge in the digital world, all in search of novel digital solutions to help them stay afloat. This sudden surge will necessarily force legislative bodies to act fast(er than usual).

Powerful legacy players and overcautious bureaucrats, two long-standing hindrances to regulatory reform, will recede in the face of necessity, significantly accelerating the proliferation of online services.

Security Concerns will Soar

The wide-scale shift to digital does, however, present cyberattackers with a rapidly growing number of targets – according to Cybersecurity Ventures, cybercrime will cost the world 6 trillion dollars annually by 2021.

Expect the cybersecurity industry to shift more focus to cloud services and security budgets to increase across the board. Skilled cybersecurity professionals will become the hot new commodity, the surge in VPN use is already happening, and novel approaches to identity and access management – powered by AI and blockchain technologies – will come into vogue. 

Much Overdue Attention to Truth

The spread of misinformation that has been plaguing the web doesn’t seem to be faltering. Erroneous stories about the coronavirus started circulating online almost as soon as the pandemic broke out. In its ugliest manifestation, misinformation has led people to ingest what proved to be deadly fake cures. As a result, systems dedicated to data verification and integrity will come to the fore.

For instance, the World Health Organization, working with Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, and other blockchain and tech companies, has already launched a blockchain based platform, called MiPasa, that enables the early detection of COVID-19 carriers and infection hotspots.

It’s fair to say that all those predictions merely describe events that would have occurred regardless of the pandemic. While that is true, the crucial difference is the speed at which these changes are happening. This means that companies looking to exploit opportunities in the digital world will have to deliver fast.

Startups are inherently best equipped to deal with rapidly changing environments and disruption. Over in Lebanon, that is already starting to happen. Next week, we will be featuring stories from Lebanese startups that have managed to turn the tides of the crisis in their favour. Stay tuned!