Local cloud infrastructure, seamless digital experience and zero trust security model among top tech predictions for 2021

Faced with perhaps the most disruptive circumstances of their existence, organizations worldwide realized that they had no greater ally than technology in their quest to ensure some sort of work continuity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

?The Coronavirus vaccines now entering the market are expected to bring relief to businesses soon by paving the way to normalcy,? said Rajesh Ganesan, Vice President at ManageEngine, the enterprise IT management division of Zoho Corporation. ?But the past year has shown that technology resilience is fundamental to business resilience and that it?s better to take steps in that direction now rather than later.?

In the spirit of resilience, here’s a list of five top tech predictions for 2021 by ManageEngine, compiled after discussions with relevant stakeholders, including business and tech leaders.

#1 Local regulations and cloud infrastructure

With the accelerated cloud adoption, it is inevitable that governments across the world will bring in region-specific regulations to uphold aspects of sovereignty, user privacy, security, culture, policies, and other issues; and this will call for cloud infrastructure to be hosted in every such region to comply with those regulations. Also, specific states within big countries could have their own regulations, and hence businesses should be aware of this factor while choosing cloud providers. When it comes to their data as well as their customers’ data, it is imperative for businesses to operate with clarity of regulations and how they apply.

#2 More focus on a seamless digital experience

A seamless digital experience will be an important differentiator for businesses, especially in the post-pandemic era. Hence, they will increasingly invest in digital experience monitoring to relieve bottlenecks, such as the inability to track employee devices, besides issues in their home network and other cloud-based productivity tools.

Organizations will also strive towards effectively engineering AIOps to contextually monitor and remediate their IT and business logic in order to provide an intuitive user experience. Furthermore, AI-powered and data-informed monitoring tools will be sought out to analyze security risks and increase operational efficiency.

#3 Zero Trust security model will be the new norm

Before COVID-19, Zero Trust was being driven by a need to modernize the information security stack. With the shift to remote work, the traditional perimeter-based security model was rendered obsolete. Digital identity is now a single control point across users, devices, and networks. Zero Trust security models, however, operate with the principle that all network users?internal or external?are considered hostile until proven otherwise. Trust is established through strong authentication to users upon verifying who is requesting access, the context of the request, and sensitivity of the access environment; and each user?s behavior is continuously assessed for risk.

It addresses the agile needs of modern organizations and eventually it will become the way any security framework is architected. From a business option to a business imperative, every one of us is on a Zero Trust journey? whether we know it, or not.

#4 Hyper converged infrastructure is ideal for the cloud-era

Having a strong IT framework is a critical factor for businesses to achieve infrastructure efficiency. Hyper converged infrastructure (HCI) consolidates traditional hardware-based infrastructure (compute servers, networking and storage) into virtualized, software-defined environments. This approach is not only a cost-efficient option but also helps simplify the management of these virtualized resources from a single, unified interface.

Considering the impact of the pandemic, many organizations are looking to adopt technologies that can support their digital workspace. Keeping in mind the cost and security related issues associated with public cloud, it may not be the immediate choice for most businesses, making 2021 the year for HCI. And due to its simplified and flexible framework, HCI is ideal for the cloud-era.

#5 Increasing utilization of analytics by non-IT departments

Now that organizations realize the effectiveness of analytics platforms, their usage is expected to penetrate not just IT but other departments that have traditionally not relied on analytics applications. For example, data from HR applications combined with employee performance metrics can be used to measure the influence of employee welfare initiatives on employee productivity.

This focus on analytics brings an interesting dynamic to the way organizations work and also introduces a set of challenges in data governance and maintenance. IT will play a pivotal role in facilitating fine-grained access levels before moving to a higher trust model where individual teams have complete access to all relevant data that is necessary for their efficient functioning.

The author is Vice President at ManageEngine, the enterprise IT management division of Zoho Corporation

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