With the end of the year, there many articles that reflect on the past year. But sometimes taking the longer view can reveal deeper shifts–and generations–of change. Especially when it comes to technology and cybersecurity.

As The Wall Street Journal notes, back in 2012, the emerging areas of focus among CIOs were BYOD and cloud. At the time, the belief was that data privacy wasn’t really something consumers thought about. But then, things started changing. Government contractor Edward Snowden, leaked classified information from the NSA and the 2016 election was turned upside down with speculation that Russians had hacked the United States democratic system. Facebook incurred a massive deficit of trust due to data misuse and leaks, and mega cyberattacks like NotPetya and WannaCry signaled a clear shift to a new and more serious generation of cybersecurity threats.

Through all of this, CIOs and CSOs had to ride the waves, quickly adapting to ensure the stability of their organizations. With that perspective in mind, The Wall Street Journal asked CIOs to provide their views of how their roles changed during 2018 and what lies ahead for 2019. Below are excerpts from CIOs.

Sheila Jordan, CIO, Symantec: “Digital transformation will continue, and our customers expect it. We have become impatient when, as a customer, an application doesn’t know who we are, or if acquisitions are not integrated from a customer experience perspective. All CIOs are expected to deliver this exceptional experience at a time when many have legacy applications—combined with data privacy and security expectations—so it can be a challenge. But it’s the reality of our customer and shareholders’ expectations.”

Fletcher Previn, CIO, IBM: “Today, the IT department is a strategic partner, and is on the front line of virtually every major initiative in the company. As ever greater demands are placed on IT, having a well-disciplined, agile process around how we prioritize work and handle backlog is essential….Often, what we decide not to do is just as important as what we sign up to do.”

Savio Thattil, CIO, Sephora: “Ultimately, I will need to balance staying on top of consumer technology trends, and deciphering what’s real and what’s just buzz, while being a mentor within an organization that is navigating the fast pace of change in retail.

Paul Chapman, CIO, Box Inc.: “…When you are in an environment that has freedom from large on premise infrastructure footprints … direct operational management of those environments results in a massive give back of time. As a modern CIO, you should be spending that time on higher value work, like how to accelerate company growth and efficiency, finding ways to get closer to the customer and driving solutions that achieve revenue-generating results.”

No matter what the priority, any kind of digital transformation and operational evolution must be created with security as part of the plan.

Get the full story at The Wall Street Journal.