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Data Theorem 2021 Predictions: Virtual and Cloud Environments to Fuel Digital Transformation in 2021

vmblog 2021 prediction series 

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

Virtual and Cloud Environments to Fuel Digital Transformation in 2021

By Richard Smith, Director, Data Theorem 

Digital transformation tops most organizations' to-do lists in 2021. To fuel this initiative, organizations need to fast-track their move to virtual environments and public clouds. New security and data privacy concerns have resulted, creating a number of opportunities and challenges organizations must face in the coming year. Some of these include:

Enterprises' virtual environment and cloud adoption will accelerate beyond current aggressive goals. By moving critical IT infrastructure and business applications to virtual environments and the public cloud, at the same time retiring traditional on-premises data centers, some businesses are estimating they can save more than $100 million dollars annually. Reduced license costs of software and hardware running in traditional data centers is a key contributor to these cost savings.

Managing applications will be more commonly done by security automation in DevSecOps. Non-technical organizations will start to embrace security automation within their DevOps practices in the New Year. Some of this trend is driven by advantages in efficiency and cost. Also, with the increase in cloud adoption (see above) security automation is the norm. In short, in 2021 non-tech organizations will move closer to their technical brethren and companies born in the cloud in their usage of security automation.

Business behaviors will slowly change due to new privacy requirements and resulting lawsuits. When California voters passed Proposition 24, they tightened the screws on the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) already in effect. Soon thereafter, Apple began requiring all application publishers to provide a privacy disclosure highlighting all user tracking, data collection and data sharing - including what's being shared with third-party partners. This in essence creates new privacy "nutrition labels" on all applications listed in the Apple App and Mac Stores. For some companies, those whose business models are to give away free services to harvest users' behaviors to sell, they will be called into question if they fail to disclose this type of data collection and activity. With new privacy requirements emerging, many companies will have to alter their approach to harvesting personal data and some smaller apps may not survive due to these new measures.

End user license agreements (that no one reads) will be overshadowed by personal data ownership rights. It is common to require new software users to agree to and accept lengthy license agreements which often release a person from privacy rights of their own data. Who reads these multi-page agreements? Now in the New Year and moving forward, these end user license agreements may have language and conditions that will not stand in the emerging new landscape of data privacy laws. We expect increased challenges to these license agreements in favor of data rights, with 2021 being just the start of this swell. 

U.S political polarization will widen with personalized news apps. Voters turned out in record numbers for the recent U.S. presidential election. Viewership of media outlets mirrored these results, and questions grew about trust of the media outlets. Fact checking on fake news can take as much time as gathering and reporting the news itself. Information used to be an opportunity for rational agreement on facts, especially from trusted sources, but these days even known facts are misconstrued. Mounting frustration from both sides of the aisle has been caused by misinformation from data-driven and false reporting, editorialized commentary, and opinions consumed and blasted over social media. A viral social media post, whether true or not, will often be promoted by news outlets to drive viewership, especially if it is popular among viewers. We will likely see continued expansion of the political divide fueled by a growing number of social media apps and alternative news outlets.

Looking into 2021, although full of unique challenges, we have a strong sense of anticipation and excitement to see new ways of doing business take hold in the era of digital transformation. We can expect to see companies more quickly embrace virtual and cloud computing as the primary way of doing business, while maintaining compliance to stricter data privacy standards.


About the Author

richard smith 

Richard is a Director at Data Theorem. He works with security professionals and developers across different size organizations to better understand market trends and needs around mobile app security, mobile app fraud and API security. Before joining Data Theorem, Richard worked for Cisco Systems helping different organizations develop security solutions across many different areas of technology including network security, cloud security, data center security and identity management. Prior to Cisco Systems, Richard worked as an entrepreneur and technology influencer at collaboration leader TANDEBRG and virtualization startup RingCube Technologies. Richard earned a B.S. in Management Information Systems from San Jose State University.

Published Tuesday, January 26, 2021 7:32 AM by David Marshall
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