A few weeks into January, there is still time to put on our fortune teller hat to make IT predictions for 2022. This is an opportunity to predict the trends, technologies, and challenges that enterprises will experience over the next 11 months. While we don’t claim to have any clairvoyant powers, we do have a good pulse on how the coming year will play out due to our involved client partnerships and our commitment to identifying and embracing new technology solutions that add value to our clients.
1. Ransomware Expected to Get Worse
A basic IT prediction for 2022 is that ransomware will be a threat that accelerates on frequency and severity. Is that a stretch? No, probably not. A major reason why we see this increasingly complex war getting worse is the utilization of Initial Access Brokers (IABs). These IABs are financially motivated employees who turn over RDP or VPN login credentials as well as expose firsthand information about a targeted organization’s infrastructure and its cybersecurity procedures. In return, these employees are promised a financial reward. One such ransomware ring, Black Matter, was offering IABs up to $100,000 if their supplied information and efforts resulted in a successful attack. With the size of the involved ransoms being so high today, threat actors can pay these insider fees as a cost to doing business. Ransomware gangs are constantly evolving their attack methodologies to make these events easier to execute and more effective.
The thing we must remember is that the psychology of these ransomware attackers is centered around a business-first approach. Such attacks are not usually politically motivated, nor is it economic warfare. Up until now, that is one of the reasons why political and regulatory efforts have been so lacking, and why ransomware still flourishes unabated. Thankfully, this is starting to change as our pollical leaders are recognizing the economic disruption that ransomware criminals create with each attack. Of course, depending entirely on political institutions and reactionary cybersecurity solutions is not enough for your enterprise. Business and IT executives must take greater proactive steps to combat this threat. Next week, the WEI blog will be featuring a blueprint strategy that outlines the proactive strategies and technology-based solutions to do just that.
2. It’s an “as a service” World
Fact is, we are steadily moving toward an ‘as a service’ world where there are a gamut of acronyms for a multitude of ‘as a service’ types including IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, NaaS and PCaaS. Even ransomware is available as a service, which has become a key driver of cloud service implementations as companies realize that on-premise datacenters are too vulnerable to threat actors. The pace of business is constantly accelerating, as is the pace of technology implementation. Users want things available instantly and only the cloud can deliver on demand provisioning at the required scale.
Many of the systems that we depend on today are now serviced by the cloud including Office 365, Salesforce, and virtual desktop technologies. We are seeing hardware vendors such as Dell and HPE with GreenLake package their portfolios into some type of ‘as a service’ offering. The key to packaging services this way is the ease to which they can be consumed. We see this getting easier in the coming year with more and more types of ‘as a service’ offerings as we see users increasingly utilize them. At the same time, enterprises will make greater use of cloud management services and cloud-based monitoring tools to secure their networks.
3. Will Companies Embrace Windows 11?
Many companies took their sweet time upgrading their computers from a Windows 7 operating system to Windows 10. The question is whether companies will take the same elongated approach in upgrading to Windows 11. We believe there are challenges impacting Windows 11 from being implemented at any sizable scale and some of this has to do with the benefits of Windows 11 not being articulated well enough for companies to consider it. Many don’t understand what the roadmap is for Windows 11 or why they should transition. As a result, it is a safe IT prediction for 2022 to not see a lot of conversation about Windows 11 for the first half of 2022.
We see Windows 11 making its way into enterprise fleets mainly through the purchase of new machines. However, the current supply chain issues concerning the manufacturing and delivery of client PCs and laptops is delaying this process. We do anticipate that by the end of 2022 enterprises will begin realizing the real benefits of Windows 11. Many of the embedded services within Windows 11 make it easy to interact with Microsoft Azure and that cloud fusion will add even greater value over Windows 10.
4. The Impact of 5G Mobility
No, we aren’t here to make predictions about 5G itself. Rather, this IT prediction for 2022 is about how 5G will impact cybersecurity and device management. Users are only as mobile as their level of internet access allows. In 2022, portable computing devices are going to be embedded with 5G. As a result, users are no longer dependent on at-home Wi-Fi or personal hotspots. Many consumers will be happy to know they will no longer need to stop at the nearest coffee house to get some last-minute tasks done for corporate.
The proliferation of 5G will greatly expand the need to secure those users so that they can authenticate from anywhere because the bad guys are quickly learning how to get around traditional multifactor authentication systems that use SMS texting. The challenge will be finding the balance between adding additional layers of protection while not prohibiting users from being productive. Regarding device management, companies such as Dell are offering the ability to manage, troubleshoot and remediate PCs regardless of location and that is going to become more and more valued by companies in the years ahead. The move to 5G will also cause a shakeup in that companies will migrate to vendors that offer best-of-breed 5G solutions.
5. The Transition of Internal IT
Let’s talk about the very nature of the IT Department. It is growing more apparent by the day that IT can no longer be located on an island while driving the bus, too. Their role is to support the business, and to do so, IT must make itself even more valuable by aligning itself to business needs. IT needs to be both adaptable and responsive as many companies have learned this lesson after witnessing shadow IT permeating throughout their organization. IT needs to be in lockstep with the business units they serve, and this means creating tighter liaisons with them. In the same way that a business knows its customer, Internal IT must know its users, and who its customers are.
Companies are expected to grow less reliant on administrators that specialize in a specific facet such as storage or networking. Instead, they will transition to operational staffs that know how to run their entire environments whether those resources reside on-premise or in the cloud. In some ways, we see the IT department operating similarly to a company’s facilities department. Why? Because technology is needed in the same way that electricity is. For example, as a user expects the lights to come on at the flick of a switch, they also take wireless connectivity for granted upon entering the building. IT is now the ultimate enabler for technology-driven users, and this requires somewhat of a cultural shift for many IT departments.
6. Concluding IT Prediction for 2022
We have a lot more to say about the coming future, but a sixth prediction is certain: The pace of innovation isn’t going to slow down. In fact, it will only accelerate in 2022 and even more so in the years ahead. IT professionals must be ready to keep pace. If you would like to hear more about the coming challenges we foresee, as well as the solutions we believe in overcoming these challenges, we urge you to contact us to help you create a roadmap to navigating 2022.
Next Steps: Flipping the calendar to 2022 means discovering and deploying new and innovative technologies that can help your enterprise reach new heights. More so than ever, CIOs around the world will be working around the clock to ensure that their enterprise is up to the highest cybersecurity standards possible. If you are an IT leader, we encourage you to read our eBook titled, “IT Leader’s Guide to Enterprise Security in a Digital World.”