In 2021, We’re Going Back… to the Future
We have to go back! Is probably something you thought over the course of 2020, where we faced a new normal, a new remote workforce, and new challenges while the world adapted to the global COVID-19 pandemic. I think we all spent a good portion of the year wanting things to go back to the way they were before. Looking ahead to 2021, I found myself again thinking we have to go back! But not to a time before 2020, rather, we have to go back to thinking ahead. When it comes to our data, we spent 2020 adapting to an unprecedented situation rather than thinking about the possibilities. Long story short: in 2021, we’re going back… to the future. What does that mean for your data? It means looking ahead to what is coming next, innovating, and, above all else, expecting the unexpected—that’s one lesson we’re all taking with us from 2020. Check out our top data predictions for 2021 from Commvault experts— are you ready to go back to looking ahead?
DevOps Will Transform from a Sidekick to Superhero in Enterprises’ Fight for Digital Dominance
DevOps – responsible for developing new applications, interfaces, and other digital services — has been treated by C-level executives as a sidekick (though a valuable one, like Robin) for years. These executives saw DevOps as important in helping their organizations realize their business objectives, even if the digital services built by DevOps were not viewed as central to the organization’s success. However, since COVID-19 has put the world’s economy’s digital transformation into overdrive, C-Suite executives are increasingly realizing that their company’s digital services don’t just support their core business – they are their core business. As the driving force behind these services, C-level executives now see the success or failure of their organizations hinging on whether their DevOps teams can deliver their customers and other stakeholders the digital services they want when they want them. They no longer expect DevOps to be a sidekick – they expect DevOps to be a superhero. Those organizations whose DevOps teams can step up from being Robin to being Batman and meet this challenge will be poised to succeed over the next decade in our new, post-COVID-19 economy.
Security, Governance and Other Data Analytics Come to the Cloud
In 2020, enterprises around the world rushed to move applications and workloads to the cloud to accommodate the shift to people working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the chickens have come home to roost, and these companies are now waking up to the fact that they don’t have the security, data governance, and other analytics in place to intelligently manage the data they have moved from their on-premises infrastructure to various different clouds. Meanwhile, cybercriminals are developing more sophisticated attacks to steal or ransom this data. In addition, government regulators are still expecting companies to govern their data in accordance with GDPR and other data privacy regulations, whether this data is found in their data center or on the cloud. Given this, I expect over the next six months we will see more than one company that jumped unprepared into the cloud suffer a ransomware attack, data breach, be hit with a major fine for lax data privacy compliance, or similar incident. This is not because the cloud is inherently insecure or hard to govern. However, while most companies have in place at least some technologies and processes to secure, govern, and otherwise intelligently manage the data found between the four walls of their data centers, many do not have the same technologies and processes in place for the data they now have on multiple clouds. That is why I am hearing extensively from customers that one of their priorities in the new year will be the extension of their core data center security, governance, and other analytics services to cloud. And it is why I expect that in 2021 we will see strong growth for data analytics solutions that allow companies to audit their data, comply with data privacy regulations, secure data from ransomware and other cyberattacks, and rapidly recovery their data after a disaster – whether this data is located on-premises or in the cloud.
More Companies Will Seek to Shine a Light on Their Dark Data
For years companies have been building up vast amounts of “Dark Data” – data backed up or archived for retention or compliance purposes that otherwise sits silent, unused, and sometimes completely forgotten. However, as markets get more crowded and companies find themselves needing to further differentiate themselves from their competition, more companies in 2020 will seek to shine a light on this Dark Data for insights that can improve business outcomes. Whether they are simply indexing this data or running analytics or AI tools on it, companies will try to use Dark Data to generate insights – ranging from as how to lower their operating costs by optimizing the storage of this Dark Data, to how to develop more compelling digital services for their customers — that offer them a competitive advantage.
Organizations Finally Realize They Need A Business Continuity Plan for Ransomware Attacks
As recent ransomware attacks on hospitals that halted radiation treatments for some cancer patients demonstrate, despite organizations’ best efforts, it is impossible for security solutions to be 100 percent effective. As organizations finally come around to realizing that no security system is perfect, they are now asking themselves not what they will do if a ransomware or other cyberattack locks or destroys their data, but when. The answer to this question is to have a business continuity plan in place that accounts for a ransomware or other cyberattack, allowing the organization to recover from the attack quickly, so that any disruption to their operations is minimal. Next year, expect to see organizations finally start working to ensure they have in place the business continuity processes and disaster recovery solutions they need to rapidly recover not just from natural disasters, but malicious cyberattack disasters as well – helping them transform ransomware attacks from three-car pileups into mere bumps in the road.
It Is a SaaS World — We Are Just Living In It
While C-Suite executives increasingly see their organization’s digital services as essential to their organization’s success, most of them now also see purchasing and managing on-premises IT infrastructure and applications as non-revenue generating activities outside of their core competency. As a result, these days whether you are a CIO at a global financial firm, IT leader at a mid-size company, or just managing IT for a small business, chances are that you have or are trying to find a SaaS solution for Human Resources, Enterprise Resource Planning or other business applications that are not critical differentiators for your company. Expect to see strong growth continue for SaaS solutions – including data management – that can address general business needs, and free the solution’s customers to focus on the digital services core to their business. 2021 will demonstrate once and for all that it is a SaaS world, and we are all just living in it.
As More People Work From Home, Intelligent Endpoint Data Management Emerges as a Priority for IT
The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in employers around the world asking millions of employees to work from home that had not done so before. As a result, many employers and employees realized that working from home delivered them significant benefits (shorter commutes, lower office space expenses). This has led many employers to institute policies that will enable their employees to work from home at least a few days a week even after the pandemic (hopefully) subsides. However, one drawback facing companies whose employees are working from home is that they have much less control over data protection, data privacy regulatory compliance, and other aspects of data management than they do when these employees connect their laptops to their office’s corporate network. At the same time, ransomware and other cyberattacks are increasing, while governments are implementing and enforcing stricter data privacy regulations. Because of this, expect in 2021 to see more companies deploy solutions that allow them to intelligently protect, govern, and otherwise manage the data on their employees’ laptops and other endpoints. In particular, expect to see growth of intelligent data management solutions that use AI and similar technologies. Using these technologies these solutions can detect anomalous behavior indicating a ransomware attack, or private customer information stored in a place or manner it should not be, allowing companies to nip ransomware, data privacy and similar data management problems in the bud.
Enterprises Need for Cloud Native Applications Will Fuel Growth of the Container Market
The agility that containers provide to organizations trying to accelerate their move to the cloud will continue to fuel demand for container-based applications. In particular, the fact that containers can be used to make applications cloud-native will drive growth of the container market. By using containers to make their applications cloud native, companies can improve these applications cloud scalability and performance, and also more easily move these applications between different clouds – helping them accelerate their digital transformation initiatives.