None of us could have predicted what 2020 had in store, and the coronavirus pandemic has certainly left its mark, particularly on the I.T. and Tech industry.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the forefront just how quickly things can change. One day we’re all going about life as normal, then overnight everything is different.
This “new world” has certainly impacted the I.T. industry, pushing technology to its limits, but also driving some dramatic change.
As we come towards the end of the year, we look forward to what 2021 will hold, and how the events of the past 12 months have shaped the I.T. world forever.
The COVID effect
Our partners at Check Point predict that the effects of the changes introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to be a key focus for organisation’s I.T. and security teams. In a recent report, it revealed that 81% of organisations have adopted remote working for their employees, and 74% of them are planning to enable it permanently. That’s huge!
Given those statistics, we’re pretty certain that the after effects of the coronavirus pandemic will be felt for many more months to come and will remain a large part of our lives throughout 2021. Though, its impact will change over time.
So, what does this mean for the I.T. industry?
It means that over the next year we need to plan for the ‘next normal’, looking at what is around the corner. We know that the rush to remote working had a detrimental impact on security, so in planning we MUST ensure that our data is better secured. Businesses need to secure their distributed networks and cloud deployments to keep their applications and data protected. To achieve this, organisations need to consider and implement threat prevention at all points of the network, from employees to IoT devices and clouds. Covering all bases will prevent exposure and cybercriminals exploiting weaknesses to breach sensitive data.
With 78% of organisations surveyed by Check Point revealing that they have cyber-skill shortage, prevention is much, much better than cure.
5G goes mainstream
Will 2021 be the year 5G finally goes mainstream? If there’s one thing this year has taught us it’s the importance of being connected. Without that connectivity we wouldn’t have been able to adapt the way we have. Our growing dependence on our phones, tablets, and other devices has only highlighted the need for a totally connected, high-speed world, and we predict the value of 5G in 2021 will continue to increase.
But, with transformation comes challenges, and before we get carried away on the 5G train, these need to be addressed if it’s to become a success.
As fantastic as the high-speed world of 5G sounds, a totally connected world opens us up to attack. It gives cybercriminals more opportunity to launch attacks and cause disruption by targeting that connectivity. Personal data will be more readily available with information on individual wellbeing, daily movements and how we live our lives being recorded to use in everyday life. Without robust security measures in place, we could be opening ourselves up to significant data breaches.
And as 5G rolls out to the masses, the number of connected IoT devices will also expand. According to our partners, Check Point, this will drastically increase networks’ vulnerability to large scale, multi-vector cyber-attacks.
So, yes let’s get excited about the prospect of a 5G roll out, but be vigilant and ensure that data is effectively secured.
2020 will certainly be remembered for the resurgence of AI. Virtually overnight, businesses, governments and other agencies found themselves needing to work together to create a fast solution to stop the spread of coronavirus. Machine learning and AI were two tools they immediately turned to.
We’ve talked a lot over the last year about AI, and although some regard it as more of a ‘future’ trend, it has now started to become part of our everyday lives without us even realising. From how we shop, watch, and interact on social media, AI has started to touch every part of our lives.
Over the next year, we may even start to find AI-enabled machines increasingly present in our workplace, from recruitment to personal development training and even AI colleagues.
In recruitment, we could start to see AI pre-screening candidates before inviting the most suitable in for interviews, this saves time searching through hundreds of applications and can make the process more efficient when selecting candidates.
Engineering giant Honeywell has developed tools that use augmented and virtual reality, alongside AI, to capture the experience of work, including day-to-day tasks of an employee, which can then be used to pass on to new hires for future training.
We can’t wait to see how this technology develops in 2021.
Beware of Ransomware
The impact of COVID-19 has certainly left its mark, with cyber-attacks hitting record levels over the last 12 months.
Partnered with the events of this year, the evolving sophistication of cybercriminals has made stealing data a lot easier.
And unfortunately, 2021 won’t be much better, as we expect an even bigger onslaught of ransomware attacks.
According to the FireEye Mandiant report ‘A Global Reset: Cyber Security Predictions 2021’, we should expect to see ransomware grow in scale, scope, and effectiveness. Jaimie Collier, FireEye Mandiant’s chief cyberthreat consultant said, “We’re seeing the affiliate models expand, where different threat actors combine leading to a huge amount of specialisation within the overall process. Some of the actors develop the ransomware but others that specialise in gaining the initial access, and post-compromise exfiltration; all leading to a broader criminal ecosystem.”
Our partners at Check Point also predict that cyber-attacks will continue to increase in 2021, be it espionage or influencing events in other countries. While cybersecurity firm Sophos report that ransomware and fast-changing attacker behaviours will, “shape the threat landscape and I.T. security in 2021.”
In its 2021 Threat Report, Sophos explains that, “everyday threats, such as commodity malware, including loaders and botnets, or human-operated Initial Access Brokers, will demand serious security attention.” Although these threats may seem like low-level malware, Sophos warns that they should not be disregarded as they are, “designed to secure a foothold in a target, gather essential data, and share data back to a command-and-control network that will provide further instructions.”
Enforcing and automating threat prevention across all platforms, including employee’s mobiles and work laptops, whilst working remotely, will help to identify threats early and prevent attacks.
If the increased risk of ransomware is a concern for your business, we can help. Contact us on 0845 6399661 or email email@example.com.
Public Cloud spending set to soar
2020 has shown us how much organisations rely on the cloud, including programs such as AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and Alibaba, which are all predicted to grow significantly in 2021.
As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, we can expect to see public cloud spending soar as more organisations become accustomed to working with cloud solutions and remote working becomes the norm.
Research from Gartner forecasts that global spending on public cloud services is set to reach $304.9 billion in 2021, an 18.4% increase on spend this year. And this spend is predicted to grow even more up until 2024.
“The COVID-19 pandemic forced organisations to quickly focus on three priorities: preserve cash and optimize I.T. costs, support and secure a remote workforce, and ensure resiliency,” said Sid Nag, research vice president at Gartner. “Investing in cloud became a convenient means to address all three of these needs.”
The cloud has been an essential tool during the pandemic, allowing employees to work remotely. It’s also brought about a shift in how businesses structure their I.T.
ForresterNow also predict a surge in cloud spend. In a recent report they state that, “the global public cloud infrastructure will grow to 35% to $120 billion in 2021 and that Alibaba Cloud will move to number 3 position globally, following AWS and Azure.”
We’ll be keeping a close eye on things as cloud develops and more organisations adapt to working in this new way.
What are your I.T. predictions for 2021? Share your thoughts with us on social media.