In last year’s technology predictions, we discussed cloud adoption and cryptocurrency. What we actually learnt was that 2020 was unpredictable, and for many businesses, it was a year of rapid technological changes. The pandemic has forced many businesses to take an intensive look at how they have been operating, as well as how they will function in 2021, and the ever-changing future.
Forecasting what could be coming up in 2021 may seem odd, but by looking at what has changed recently, and which trends are shifting, businesses will be able to plan for their needed growth and change.
#1 New and evolving communication and collaboration tools
Ok, we admit this one is very obvious.
Last year when we discussed the evolution in internal communication, we didn’t know about the virus that was brewing. We said that productivity benefits were starting to be identified and would “grow further throughout 2020”, but the reality was that they boomed!
With millions working from home, Unified Communications and Collaboration (UCC) tools not only grew in terms of adoption and usage, but also new capabilities have been churned out at a much faster rate.
So what’s next for communication and collaboration? With ongoing remote working, we expect that video conferencing will remain an important tool for companies to use as a source of communication with the wider team. With a shift towards hybrid working, the use of video conferencing will build a much needed line of communication for meetings between those that are remote and those that are in the office.
The shift to new ways of working comes with the need for management whilst minimising security threats. We anticipate businesses to invest in analytics to provide IT and business leaders insights into home worker performance and engagement. This is a result of the challenges remote working poses for employees such as isolation and lack of face-to-face interaction.
#2 Artificial intelligence will improve cyber security
We admit that Artificial Intelligence is an overused buzzword but it’s seeing some fantastic growth in adoption rates. More than 9 in 10 businesses have ongoing investments in AI, particularly driven by its ability to improve customer experience and increase employee productivity.
We will see AI stepping up to support security in the remote world given that the shift to remote work has resulted in vulnerable endpoints.
Although human error is a big factor in the cause of cyber-attacks, training programs alone cannot protect the business. It would be far-fetched to expect employees to monitor, control and check each endpoint. AI and Machine Learning technologies can offer a more resilient, continuous endpoint protection that can keep up with rapidly changing needs.
2021 will also be the year that security professionals can take back some of their bandwidth knowing that AI automation can recognise and respond to attack patterns, both known and abnormal.
As more businesses look to adopt AI in its various formats, it’s important that they realise AI is another layer of attack surface for cyber criminals. Businesses need to not only keep their infrastructure protected from emerging attacks, but also their AI algorithms. The new year will see many businesses focus on either adjusting their algorithms or building new systems to easily detect and react to these attacks.
#3 IOB technologies will be implemented in the office
The internet of behaviours remains to be one of the top emerging technologies. The ability to collect data through Internet of Things devices provides valuable insights into user behaviours and preferences. Organisations will seek to use this technology to influence human behaviour by using the data to track likes, dislikes and purchase habits. By the end of 2025, it is expected that at least one IoB programme will be implemented across 50% of the world’s population.
As well as using IOB for consumer behaviour, in light of the pandemic, we can expect to see technologies implemented in the workplace. This would track if employees are complying to health and safety guidelines upon returning to work. This includes RFID tags and behavioural data technology to track if employees are washing hands and wearing masks to adhere to rules.
#4 Public cloud market will grow by 35%
The global pandemic has reinforced the importance of cloud computing in creating an efficient remote working experience. 2020 saw a sudden rush towards the public cloud to increase agility and productivity. In fact, over the pandemic, Microsoft Azure accounted for 47% of revenue growth.
The move and adoption to cloud is set to surge in 2021 as more businesses look to meet changing consumer demands and improved user experience. End user spending is forecasted to increase by 18.4%, growing from $257.5b to $304.9b.
#5 Cyber security spending will increase
Again, another obvious one. But a very important one.
Reflecting back on 2020, cyber security has been on everyone’s lips, making headlines repeatedly. The sudden shift to remote working quickly paved the way for hackers to exploit users and enter networks using various methods of attacks. Whilst disruption continues, cyber security issues will remain breaking news.
The rise in cybercrime and growing risks will result in 70% of CISO’s asking for significant increases in cyber security budgets for 2021, according to a report by McKinsey & Company. As an MSP, this is the kind of prediction we want/need to come true. In fact our CEO, Carl Henriksen, has gone as far as to say that if a client of ours wasn’t serious about security, we would have to walk away.
#6 More businesses will go fully paperless
Propelled forward by remote working and hygiene concerns, people have had to find new ways to collaborate on documents. With various tools allowing for documents to be edited, signed and shared digitally, more businesses (even the most document-intensive ones), will feel empowered to go paperless.
Quick caveat – if you’re going paperless, keep security in mind. Cyber criminals see user generated and external content as the perfect way to get into your infrastructure. You can’t trust every file downloaded and shared, so make sure your security solutions cover all eventualities.
How OryxAlign is prepared for 2021
OryxAlign strives to stay updated on key business and technology trends and understand how they shape our clients’ requirements. Our Research & Development team works tirelessly to keep pace with technological innovation and provides relevant advice and information on emerging technologies.
We work as an IT partner, an extension of our clients’ teams, rather than an outsourced provider. That means not only do we meet the fundamental needs and requirements for your business, we also futureproof and optimise, advising on various upgrades and new technologies to onboard. For more information, get in touch with our team.