Authored by: Andy Ng, Vice President and Managing Director Asia South and Pacific Region at Veritas Technologies
2021 has been a year of accelerated digital transformation, as many organisations double down on managing disruption and scaling up digitalisation since the onslaught of the pandemic. The emergence of the Omicron variant has yet introduced a new uncertainty, just when many countries work towards the reopening of their borders, allowing business and social activities to resume a semblance of normality. Andy Ng, Vice President and Managing Director of Asia South and Pacific Region at Veritas Technologies, provides his top predictions for 2022, shining a light on the key opportunities and challenges that organisations can expect and plan for in the new year.
Businesses will rebalance the hybrid cloud
The pandemic boosted cloud adoption in an unprecedented way, with 89% of respondents to a recent Veritas survey stating that they had accelerated the journey to the cloud over the last 18 months. However, having made rapid decisions about what data to host where, many businesses are now ready to make longer-term strategic decisions about what their hybrid cloud will look like. Balancing the cost of different public cloud services against both convenience, and the SLAs they require, will be a challenge that many businesses will grapple with in 2022. It is also imperative to factor in ransomware resilience and it’s clear that balancing the mix of physical, virtual and multi-cloud will be a highly nuanced decision. One thing is clear though; everything will be hybrid.
Ransomware attacks will lead to legal ramifications for executives
Over the past year, ransomware attacks have skyrocketed and have had a dire effect on the economy, social trust and information management. These attacks are financially paralysing and debilitating, and have increased 185% year-to-date, with costs expected to surpass $20 billion by the end of this year. As these attacks continue to be lucrative opportunities for bad actors, the stakes continue to rise. Attackers have started to target the very organisations that protect and support human life, such as hospitals and food supply chains.
Up until recently, the ramifications of a ransomware attack were typically limited to the business, rather than its individual leaders. However, now that human lives are literally on the line, governments are stepping in and upping the ante. In the new year, we expect that executives could be facing legal ramifications and time behind bars for potential negligence, in addition to losing their jobs. Because of this, in 2022, executives will have no choice but to make combatting ransomware their number-one concern and priority.
AI/ML will drive the next wave ransomware – and its protection
Over the past year, ransomware attacks have increased dramatically across all industry sectors and hackers continue to evolve with increasingly sophisticated extortion tools. In 2022, we expect AI-powered security and data protection to take centre stage for both hackers and the businesses that work to keep them at bay. The additional monitoring capacity that bots will be able to provide in 2022 will enable businesses to move from a reactive posture to a proactive approach. As hackers introduce threats that can automatically adapt to avoid detection, organisations will respond by using AI and ML technology to secure infrastructures and protect data with tools that are continually learning and improving all on their own – much faster than humans could hope to update them.
Businesses will need to unify data privacy, risk and discovery to avoid fines
Digital transformation and the shift to hybrid work have fractured data across a diverse range of messaging and collaboration tools. As privacy regulations continue to evolve, it is becoming even more challenging to stay on top of compliance. While regulators have made a play of showing leniency during the pandemic, we can expect the tolerance to lift as we progress into an endemic stage. The plethora of data management, privacy and compliance solutions that many businesses have adopted in order to keep data safe and compliant is quickly getting out of hand. In 2022, organisations realise that they don’t have the resources to keep expanding – and manage – their bench of tools but can’t afford to fall out of compliance either. This will start to drive a shift to a more unified approach, where businesses will be able to manage data archiving, privacy, risk and discovery from a single unified and integrated platform – leading to simplified management and increased efficiency.
Containerisation will start to take flight in mainstream production environments
The world is starting to shift its attention to Kubernetes and the orchestration of containers and 2022 will be the year where we really start to see serious deployments in production environments. Just as we went from physical to virtual to cloud, we’re now ready to make the next step and go to microservices and containers. This will allow businesses to really achieve the benefits that they were promised when they moved to the cloud. Enterprises with diverse applications or large and complex IT infrastructures will be able to realise the scalability and elasticity of the cloud to drive cost savings, as well as freedom of movement – from on-premises to the cloud and from cloud to cloud. We’re already starting to see some of the biggest cloud providers offer turnkey Kubernetes solutions, as containers enable ease of data portability. In 2022, we’re expecting greater adoption of these by enterprises around the world. For all these reasons, in the new year, it will be all about Kubernetes.
Generative IT will create a new category of data for businesses to manage
Technologies that take existing content and repurpose and recombine it to create new content are poised for an explosion. Gartner predicts that “Generative IT” will grow from creating 1% of all data today, to 10% of all data in the next three-and-a-half years. But this will create a whole new category of data for businesses to manage and protect. Setting in place the right classification tools to ensure that its lifecycle is managed and that it is stored in a compliant way will be critical to the early success of these projects. Otherwise, this could become the dark data of the future.
Hybrid working will multiply pressures on IT staff
The second half of 2021 saw a return of confidence to much of the jobs market, with pent-up ambition to move meeting economic growth to create a perfect storm. At the same time, the current pandemic has also sparked the “great resignation” as employees re-evaluate their priorities with more time for introspection. Many companies are realising that, to retain and attract new staff, they need to offer increased working flexibility so that those who prefer working from home can do just that, while those who favour a return to the office are also empowered with that choice. For IT staff, this means more complexity and less predictability. For the already squeezed IT department to survive and thrive, they’ll need to abandon point solutions and embrace platforms and portfolios that can support them across their increasingly heterogenous environments. Without this, they may find themselves drowning in administrative and management burdens in 2022.
As we usher in 2022, the path to recovery and growth isn’t linear. The ability to realise the full potential of new technologies and strengthen business resiliency and agility will separate the leaders from the laggards.