Jeff Ton, Strategic IT Advisor at InterVision
Remote Workforces Are Here to Stay
Workforce enablement changed dramatically in 2020. The explosion of a remote workforce is something many organizations will integrate into their new normal, possibly forever. 2021 will see many CIOs re-evaluating workforce enablement tools, including their collaboration stack, SaaS applications in lieu of legacy on-premises applications, and VDI. Yes, VDI. Remote workforce enablement is a use-case that screams for VDI. Companies will find VDI solves many of their enablement issues. They will also find it may not be a fit for all users in all cases. Workforce enablement will require a hybrid approach, matching the right tool for the right problem.
Companies Will Strive to Keep a Fast Pace of Change
The relationship between IT and the rest of the business is stronger than ever before. COVID has created a new way of working. Dubbed “Pandemic Mode” (as opposed to incrementalism), it encompasses faster decision making, more responsiveness from IT, and reduction in the onerous processes. This is a much faster pace than many businesses and IT shops are accustomed to working. This will lead to more companies adopting agile methodologies. This adoption will be driven by the business demands to keep up the “Pandemic Mode” pace of change.
Hiring Will Take an Emphasis on IT Security and Digitization
Security professionals will continue to be high on everyone’s list. Where the shift will come is in the areas of cloud and digital business. Companies will accelerate the migration to the cloud, putting pressure on the job market for experienced cloud architects and engineers. In addition, 2020 and the shelter-in-place orders across the group disrupted supply chains and uncovered manual business processes. Companies will look to further their digitization, creating a demand for digital business architects, robotic process automation engineers, and AI architects.
Derek Brost, Director, Professional Services – Security & Compliance at InterVision
SASE Will Continue to Grow in Popularity
While it’s at Gartner’s peak of the hype cycle, the technology set known as Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) will continue to gain adoption as organizations move past the quick response measures they enacted this year for their massive and unexpected increase in remote worker connectivity. Many IT networking groups unfortunately found the strain and limits of their remote access VPN concentrators and even after overcoming or addressing those breaking points, they next coped with emerging issues in their bandwidth constraints, lack of network segmentation, weakness in endpoint security solutions, and myriad untrusted devices connecting to sensitive corporate systems. Wise IT groups will budget and start planning for a more converged and integrated cloud-based approach to remote device, workforce, and distributed security technology known as SASE.
Companies Will Continue to Face the Harsh Reality of Ransomware
Ransomware protection… the hard way. Many organizations are already weakened due to COVID-19 impacts and one significant ransomware situation could be an ending event. Too many organizations are increasingly learning the value of their data, their systems, and their operations by having it infiltrated, taken over, and held hostage by successful online organized crime groups. While vendors compete for eyeballs and mindshare to present their anti-ransomware solutions, the reality is setting in that this threat is beyond the scope of any one technology or vendor, and that detective and preventative controls need to be layered across the entire attack surface — sometimes even doubly applied – to be successful in deterrence and protection. From an impact perspective, organizations absolutely need to understand their total value of assets at risk, anticipate a major impact to their operations, evaluate potential liabilities to shareholders/customers, and make investments NOW to protect data, operations, and their overall viability.
Without Effective Security Integration, AI/ML Systems May Overwhelm Operations
Integration is now king in security technology. No silver bullet exists, so turning threat detection into rapid containment and response takes tight integration. Security automation is only as powerful as the value of the heuristics and the completeness of indicators in a timely, thorough manner. While AI/ML systems are able to detect threats faster and more completely than ever before, keeping pace with IT environment growth without multi-vendor/multi-tech correlation, they are beginning to produce more noise than signal to security operations. As a result, companies intent on adopting AI/ML in 2021 should do so while keeping a careful eye on their Incident Response security stance, how notifications will be processed and tracked, and how it will assist (rather than hinder) integration efforts. Recall, in very large publicly disclosed breaches, many times the organization did receive notice of intrusion, but failed to take appropriate action in a timely manner. Security incident and event data is only as valuable as the actions taken in response.
Cybersecurity Success Will Mean Improving Post-Event Restoration
Shift from sexy technologies addressing the preventative and detective controls and move to foundational and higher-value directive and restorative controls. This also means security teams need to progress from blocking and tackling technology towards governance in quantifying risk and making executive decisions on acceptable and appropriate remediation or mitigating measures. It’s also past time to talk about the “if” and shift strategy to the “when” by having effective, verified, and high-assurance abilities to restore after an incident or disaster, commensurate with the threats and risks of the organization. A strategy must be put into action to be effective, therefore it’s essential to repeatedly test and iteratively improve on that restoration strategy to build confidence and assurance that it will work when most needed.
Dustin Milberg, Field CTO Cloud Services at InterVision
SASE Adoption Will Measurably Increase
A remote workforce is the new normal. Businesses will continue to decrease their dependency on self-managed datacenters in favor of public cloud or colocation for increased capabilities. This has created an increased need to secure connectivity between physical environments. Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) has emerged as popular solution, combining WAN capabilities and network security into one cohesive strategy, which provides organizations with more assurance in secure connectivity.
Cloud Will Remain an Essential Objective
The effects of COVID-19 will linger throughout 2021, as businesses will look to lay a foundation for increased agility. Cloud will take a key focus in this goal, given its benefits of improved accessibility, scalability and flexibility. However, not everyone will be successful in the cloud. Those companies who view cloud as a journey and not a destination will see more success. This is because simply “getting to the cloud” doesn’t automatically mean you’ll see improved performance and spending. Instead, cloud is an iterative process of optimization and creating security-by-design to match your company’s goals, both now and in the long term.
We’ll See an Uptick of Architecting for Data Science
Mastering data management will be top of mind for many IT groups as they look to improve business intelligence and agility. For this reason, data science—the umbrella under which artificial intelligence, machine learning, automation, data lakes and others thrive—will see huge growth in 2021. From analyzing data-driven behaviors to transform grocery shopping to leveraging powerful computing in the cloud to improve media production models, data science will take the lead for many to stay competitive. Too expensive to provision on their own, many of these companies will outsource their data science projects to third parties with a subscription model.