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Otava 2021 Predictions: Outlook on Cloud Infrastructure

vmblog 2021 prediction series 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2021.  Read them in this 13th annual series exclusive.

2021 Outlook on Cloud Infrastructure

By Laurel Burton, Vice President of Product and Marketing, Otava

2020 was a proving ground for the cloud as the pandemic demanded that office workers around the globe become part of the work from home community virtually overnight. For those organizations that had already begun their cloud journey, the transformation may have quickly accelerated. And for those still evaluating how and when to migrate workloads to the cloud, many were compelled to take their first steps so that they could keep systems and applications available and protected with fewer on-site resources.  

2021 will be another year to remember as the world navigates ongoing uncertainty. Cloud will continue to play an increasingly important role in helping enterprises and service providers become resilient, stay strong, and ready for the future - whatever that may look like. According to cloud services provider Otava, the following five trends are ones to watch in 2021:

1) Data protection strategies will evolve to defend against ransomware

In March 2020, the first full month of the pandemic in the US, ransomware attacks were up 148% over those reported in the previous month. And attacks continue to rise throughout the pandemic with spikes correlating to world events. Because the remote/mobile/distributed workforce poses unique security challenges, in the coming year we will see organizations quickly move to change and evolve data protection strategies to defend against these looming threats. Expect to see added protection to shore up endpoints and across the entire landscape.

Otava tip: In 2021, enact a policy of Zero Trust. Always verify access and educate your workforce on security policies and best practices. Continually test and shore up your data backup solution so data can be recovered if and when needed.

2) Hybrid and multi-cloud solutions will be the new digital transformation normal

The vast majority of CEOs believe that digital transformation is the number one activity to drive top line revenue growth. While cloud is not a silver bullet, it is significant in terms of digital transformation. Frost & Sullivan finds that 75% of IT leaders say cloud is the most critical part of their entire digital transformation strategy. In 2021 we will continue to see hybrid and multi-cloud environments and solutions grow exponentially as enterprises redefine their classic perception of cloud to include more than the hyperscalers. With the understanding that not all data should reside in one type of cloud, multi-cloud and hybrid cloud strategies will prevail.

Otava tip: Transformative technologies such as cloud are creating a divide between successful businesses and those left behind. Multi-cloud solutions offer a strategic way to cross the chasm. Leveraging multiple clouds provides the flexibility to maximize the performance and cost benefits of the cloud in the right mix for your systems and applications.

3) Work From Home settles in, driving the need for permanent remote work solutions

Unsurprisingly, IT spending this year reveals that remote technologies to enable work from home rose quickly. The question remains, when, if ever, will workforces return to their offices? While there may be a migration back to the office in 2021, many organizations are likely to adopt a higher level of remote workforce on a permanent basis. This brings about new challenges and requires more investment in remote technologies and security across the distributed environment. In 2021, we expect IT leaders to assess their strategies, priorities and solutions around a more permanent remote workforce. Organizations will increasingly turn to cloud solutions providers for virtual solutions expertise, support, and better long-term experience.

Otava tip: A secure and compliant hybrid cloud environment that hosts applications designed to enable remote workforces such as Desktop as a Service will support the longer-term shift to WFH beginning in 2021.

4) Organizations will rush to close compliance gaps across legacy and cloud systems to minimize fallout from any non-compliance during the pandemic

This year, some of the mainstay industry regulations were relaxed in order to provide urgently needed services such as telemedicine. As a result, organizations will have to deal with the repercussions and can expect higher likelihood of security breaches. In 2021, organizations will need to take swift action to ensure compliance is being met - across the enterprise including all on premise and cloud systems. Data protection, cybersecurity and disaster recovery solutions that have compliance baked in will be in demand.

Otava tip: One of the first steps to keeping your systems compliant is to map them and understand where the information is coming from, who has access, and how they move around. Organizations need to know ahead of time where their vulnerabilities lie and the potential for damage if compliance is compromised.

5) Cloud and premise-based cybersecurity take priority

The acceleration of cloud adoption means a greater need for enterprise-wide security. In 2021 as more organizations move to more complex multi or hybrid cloud environments, they must determine the best way to migrate and still stay protected. In addition to shoring up data protection and cybersecurity technology across the enterprise, we expect to see vigorous education efforts to ensure that the entire workforce is helping to mitigate security risks. As many breaches target individuals working from home in order to gain access to corporate wide data and systems, this becomes paramount. Visibility into cloud and premise-based systems will also support data protection and cybersecurity solutions as having a comprehensive, end-to-end view into the organization increases the ability to be proactive and stave off attacks.

Otava tip: To provide a safe working environment in the office, at home or on the road in 2021, set an immediate goal of creating an end-to-end secure environment that is integrated across your cloud and on-premise systems.


About the Author

Laurel Burton 

Laurel has an uncanny gift for transforming previously unknown corporate brands into thriving powerhouses. Her award-winning career includes serving as the Vice President of Marketing for Faction Inc., a large cloud infrastructure provider, and ViaWest (now Flexential), a nationwide data center service provider. She has also served as a Fractional CMO for IQ Wired, Big Compass, HotQuant, Nuvalo, Aligned Energy and two confidential businesses (oooh, mysterious!).

Laurel holds both a Master's in Telecommunications Engineering as well as a Master's of Business Administration from the University of Colorado. When she is not working, you can find her enjoying mountain living with her four-legged friend Wilma by her side.

Published Thursday, December 10, 2020 7:30 AM by David Marshall
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