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Acronis 2020 Predictions: Cyberthreats Are Accelerating IT Operations Transformation, Modernization and Automation with Disruptive Approaches

VMblog Predictions 2020 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2020.  Read them in this 12th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

By Gaidar Magdanurov, Chief Cyber Strategy Officer, Acronis

Cyberthreats Are Accelerating IT Operations Transformation, Modernization and Automation with Disruptive Approaches

It's not just you, the pace of change in the world is accelerating and IT professionals know that as the world becomes more digital, cyberthreats accelerate even faster. Everyone needs to protect their organizations and clients from the financial and reputational damage that cyberattacks cause, while maintaining employee productivity, revenue growth, and client satisfaction. With this in mind, let's consider these predictions for 2020.

1.       AI/ML transforms IT operations and cybersecurity. IDC predicts the annual growth rate of artificial intelligence (AI) systems will be 28.4% through 2023. These next few years will be crucial for organizations as they begin rolling out AI-powered cybersecurity protection solutions to counter the increased number of cyberthreats created by criminals using AI. As these AI-powered solutions are built, the training models must be kept safe and designed to be ethical (while understanding the unethical). The age of AIOps and AISecOps is here and progressive IT teams and service providers are racing to protect themselves and their clients.

2.       Decision making and data manipulation. Those AI/ML models need to be protected against AI poisoning and remain authentic, since making decisions on altered or corrupted data can be disastrous. For instance, the elections process requires data and systems that are interconnected, and political candidates leverage data and social tools to make targeted advertising decisions - all of which provide fertile ground for deep fakes and cyberattacks. Data needs to be protected not just from loss, but from theft and manipulation. This need for data authenticity will drive the demand for cyber protection.

3.       Backup is dead. Traditional data protection is no longer enough in the modern digital world. Data protection must be combined with cybersecurity to provide organizations with the new layers of protection and integrations needed in the new decade. For too long, the data protection and backup operations folks and software engineers have not been working with their company's cybersecurity experts, which has resulted in weakness, inefficiency and a lack of modern cyber protection people, processes, and tools. Cyber protection is the only effective approach to protect all data, applications, and systems.

4.       Cyberthreats disrupt the IT channel. Ransomware will continue to cause turmoil for value-added resellers (VARs) and managed service providers (MSPs). Their roles will constantly change as the IT channel deals with the cyberthreats that are weakening the trust of their clients, who rely on them to protect their data. Modern approaches and solutions are the only easy and efficient way to bring enterprise-grade cybersecurity to the masses. We will see a further decline in traditional data protection and anti-virus solutions, while seeing an increase in modern cybersecurity solutions that SMB and enterprise customers can benefit from.

5.       Storage modernization. Storage has been a commodity for years, but the cloud is putting a giant magnifying glass on both the cost/performance ratio and the need for use-case-specific storage requirements. Sure, the storage wars continue, but increasingly service providers will perform assessments across the infrastructure and services that are storing their data - and strategically switch to modern use-case optimized services and appliances. Those racks of old NAS, DAS, and SANs will disappear more rapidly in 2020, while hyperconverged, and cloud will continue growing.

6.       VARs, MSPs and channel transformation. Believe it or not, when you hear that the IT channel is simultaneously dying and heating up, both statements are true. Long ago, progressive VARs and MSPs transformed their business processes, systems, and financial models to handle recurring services. Now the pressure is on to deliver even greater value to their clients. The explosion of platforms and APIs - and vendors that make them available - has enabled a completely new category of Cloud Distribution. For the managed service providers that leverage them, a whole new level of value-added services can be delivered to their clients. As for the laggards, it's M&A time, which works out well for almost everyone, especially clients.

7.       Integrations and APIs. Speaking of the explosion of APIs and application and services integration, vendors in the IT channel that are not actively creating a community and marketplace around solutions with an ecosystem will fall further behind. The move to SaaS and software-defined everything will enable new use cases and revenue-generating services. Data is at the heart of this revolution and in 2020 we will see old school ISVs, IT channel vendors, and SaaS applications partnering together in greater numbers.

8.       California CCPA, Massachusetts MSPA, New York Privacy Act, EU NIS, GDPR, and more. Add privacy - a subset of cyber protection - to your list of basic needs like food, water, air, and shelter. Where regulatory enforcers once sought to protect the industry, the new focus is protecting individuals' data. The deadline for complying with the California Consumer Privacy Act (the USA's first compliance analog to the EU's General Data Protection Regulation) is looming on New Year's Day 2020 - and the penalties for non-compliance are no joke. Service providers and businesses alike must grapple with how the CCPA strengthens individual privacy rights. Most companies are already behind the eight ball on compliance and will have to scramble to improve the reliability and security of their data protection tech, policies, and staff. As with GDPR, we can expect California regulators to make examples of high-profile violators. Early movers on privacy improvements will have a better shot of avoiding that humiliating and expensive fate.

9.       The SAPAS Balance Goals become universal. Last year, Acronis codified a way of pulling many of the concepts that drive everything we do to balance what we call the Five Vectors of Cyber Protection. Also known by the acronym SAPAS, these include safety, accessibility, privacy, authenticity, and security. The challenge is maintaining the balance needed to solve for these five vectors. We love sharing this insight and seeing the wheels turn as IT and cyber protection professionals think through how these vectors will cause issues in almost all aspects of an organization if not implemented well. Read them and ask yourself how well your organization is dealing with SAPAS.

Cyber protection covers all five vectors of protection (SAPAS): safety, accessibility, privacy, authenticity and security. SAFETY - ensures reliable copies of data, applications, and systems for recovery in case of loss or corruption. ACCESSIBILITY - making data, applications, and systems easily available at any time. PRIVACY - providing control over visibility and access to digital assets. AUTHENTICITY - creating undeniable, certifiable proof that a copy is an exact replica of the original. SECURITY - protect data, applications, and systems against cyberthreats.

10.   Risk analysis and tracking, and getting #CyberFit. Speaking of balancing all Five Vectors of Cyber Protection (SAPAS), service providers have an ever-growing need to protect their clients against cyberthreats, vulnerabilities, and employees that can cause issues or negatively affect productivity. Technology is both a blessing and a curse. Smart service providers are all about modernizing their services, training their employees and clients, and helping their clients understand the risks, define their risk tolerance, and adopt the solutions that enable them to be #CyberFit - ready to face any challenge that comes their way. What is your plan to be #CyberFit in 2020?

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About the Author

Gaidar Magdanurov 

Gaidar Magdanurov drives Acronis' cyber strategy. He joined Acronis in 2013 as a Business Manager to the CEO, becoming Vice President and General Manager for the consumer and online business in 2016, and then Chief Marketing Officer in 2017. Previously an investment director at venture capital fund Runa Capital, Gaidar was responsible for seed-stage investments, advising and educating entrepreneurs, supporting the business development of portfolio companies and maintaining relationships with startup incubators and accelerators. Prior to Runa Capital, Gaidar served in a variety of roles at Microsoft, ranging from a technology evangelist to a managing director of the Microsoft Seed Fund. Gaidar holds a Master's Degree in Chemistry.

Published Monday, January 06, 2020 7:43 AM by David Marshall
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