Last year was unpredictable, to say the least, but with unpredictability comes the opportunity for innovation and adaptation. From advancements in consumer technology to the reorganization of the entire workplace landscape, 2021 was certainly another year for the history books. Here is a quick look back at the cybertrends that emerged in 2021 along with a forecast of what we expect to see as 2022 develops.
The pandemic forced organizations of all sectors and sizes to quickly shift how they operate. While the meteoric rise of remote and hybrid workplace models initially began as a solution for business continuity that ensured the health and safety of employees, its continued functionality – and the reliance on this functionality – remains the standard model of many modern workplaces today.
Adaptations to modern workplaces make it critical to ensure that employees’ home office setups are secure. Resultingly, our experts anticipate that audits of home offices, and even employee tracking, may become more prevalent in 2022. While this has the potential to cause some friction between organizations and remote workers, ensuring up-to-date tracking and cybersecurity measures will only continue to grow in importance as remote and hybrid work continues.
While hybrid and remote workplaces are now often thought of as commonplace, the successful implementation of these models is largely due to ongoing digital transformation and adoption. Up-to-date IT technology and infrastructures are crucial for organizations to remain connected, agile and productive while working in separate locations, and we do not foresee this trend going away any time soon.
Hybrid IT and cloud services are key components to remote work and digital transformation. As demand continues to increase, we expect that cloud services may be more challenging to obtain in 2022. To get ahead of this, organizations should prioritize additional investments in hybrid IT and cloud services at the outset of yearly planning, specifically in terms of automation and orchestration tools, in order to continue to mature operations throughout 2022.
Emerging and Transformative Technologies
Another key trend we expect to continue throughout 2022 and beyond is emerging and transformative technologies. While providing the necessary tools and endpoint solutions for employees to work successfully from home was an important first step to adapting to the new workplace landscape in 2020 and 2021, investment in emerging and transformative technologies fulfills the longer-term vision of a fulsome digital transformation moving forward.
While it may seem apparent to some that investing in emerging technologies is a great way to future-proof your organization, our recent survey revealed that this has not been a priority for some organizations. In fact, while the majority (81 percent) of respondents said their organizations made investments in emerging and transformative technologies prior to the pandemic, only 14 percent said the same about investments during the pandemic.
Now in 2022, our experts predict that more medium sized organizations will leverage artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning as emerging and transformative technologies. As more organizations may stray from Security Information and Event Management (SIEM), AI will likely bring greater value on data analytics platforms.
We also anticipate that there may be an increase in business uses for augmented reality in conjunction with remote work. Augmented reality can enable a greater number of functions to be executed remotely, such as running safety audits and assessing infrastructure for an ever-widening range of products and services.
Additionally, when it comes to cloud native technologies, we may see an accelerated adoption of low code and no code services – where employees and citizen developers can modify applications – in the event that more organizations feel increased pressure to refactor applications to containers.
Many organizations suffered financially during the pandemic and were therefore forced to funnel resources into business continuity. Yet, as remote and hybrid workplace models develop within the current work landscape, investments in emerging and transformative technologies will likely rise to where they were pre-pandemic.
As life, leisure and work activities all simultaneously moved online, cybercrime increased at a rapid pace throughout 2021. The unfortunate reality is that cybercriminals are not going anywhere and are very quick to keep pace with the ever-evolving digital landscape. The good news is that increasingly sophisticated IT solutions are available to keep your organization’s information safe and protected against bad actors.
While Canadians are largely aware of potential cyberthreats and actively work to combat them, there is more work to be done from a proactive perspective to ensure that prevention is prioritized as much as possible. For example, we may see the rise of “epiphany” moments, where organizations realize that just because data is in the cloud does not necessarily mean it is automatically safe. As remote and hybrid workplace models continue, it is imperative that employees keep their devices and networks secure – and understand how to do so – as they may be working from personal networks and handling sensitive information remotely.
In 2022, ensuring that employees are practicing proper cybersecurity hygiene will continue to be a necessity for organizations across all sectors. This can include measures such as creating unique passwords and passphrases and implementing multi-factor and single sign-on user identity authentication to ensure employees are who they say they are when accessing data.
We also anticipate a move towards utilizing third-party service providers, especially pertaining to incident response and endpoint detection and response. This is due to the increasing threat of ransomware as well as organizations lacking the capacity to keep up with the volume of security work on their own. This may culminate in wrapping endpoint detection and response with a managed service and additional human intelligence.
Whether you are taking stock of your cybersecurity posture at an individual level or on behalf of an organization, revisiting this on an ongoing basis is essential to ensuring that all data and private information remains safe and secure.
2022 and Beyond
As remote and hybrid work models are here to stay for the foreseeable future, prioritizing solutions that allow security teams to ensure home offices are secure will likely be top of mind for organizations as this year progresses. By equipping employees with the tools and resources they need to work remotely, investing in emerging and transformative technologies and ensuring your cybersecurity measures are up-to-date, you can solidify a positive working experience for 2022 and beyond – no matter what the landscape looks like.
To learn more about CDW’s products and services and to connect with one of our IT experts today, please visit: CDW.ca/solutions.