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Saviynt 2021 Predictions: New Roles Emerge in the C-Suite to Mitigate Potential Record-Breaking Year of Data Breaches

 vmblog 2021 prediction series 

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

New Roles Emerge in the C-Suite to Mitigate Potential Record-Breaking Year of Data Breaches

By Vibhuti Sinha, Chief Cloud Officer, Saviynt

2020 brought several significant shifts in our daily lives, especially in the way we work. As companies transitioned millions of staff and fast-tracked remote work in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw the C-suite double down on cloud migration and digitization.

These modernization efforts left organizations to face new challenges this year. However, opportunities have emerged from these efforts as well. For example, the pandemic exposed shortcomings around security, tools, and practices for many organizations - specifically around identity - that inspired product innovation and partnerships. These innovations have shifted the mindset of many organizational leaders and security professionals, pushing them to focus on how identity impacts an organization's overall security. 

While only time will tell what 2021 has in store, I predict that the C-suite will put an extraordinary emphasis on identity management and security in the new year. Here are my predictions: 

Introducing New Additions to the C-suite: The Chief Cloud Officer and the Chief Identity Officer

Misalignment around digital transformation investments has led to a disunified C-suite. As digitization continues to blur the Chief Information Officer's traditional responsibilities, a new role will emerge in 2021 - Chief Cloud Officer.  This role will become necessary as companies SaaS-ify their operations and need a cloud-focused leader with business acumen who can battle legacy mindsets around running a company on traditional data centers versus moving to the cloud. 

Companies will depend on Chief Cloud Officers to support internal infrastructure and product innovations - this includes securing the company's own platform. They also must be evangelists, engaging the development and testing communities while continuously enforcing security policies.  

Similarly, the influx of digital transformation initiatives has emphasized the importance of identity and its role in an organization's overall security and regulatory compliance. In fact, a few years ago, an IAM analyst shared that "[making] identity management a larger part of the enterprise not only makes sense from a security and compliance perspective, but because good, clean, organized IdM data results in better running organizations."

To add to this, I believe that 2021 will also be the year of a new CIO - the Chief Identity Officer who is more than the traditional CISO. He or she will prioritize looking at the digital transformation of a business and how identity informs it. 

Companies Adopt a Zero Trust Mindset After Data Breaches  Break Records in 2021

Due to organizations rushing to move to the cloud and the continuation of remote work, I predict that we'll see an unprecedented number of data breaches in 2021. 

As I mentioned, organizations have been working hard over the past year to understand this new and rapidly changing IT landscape. With the influx of digitization activities, business leaders must understand what that type of migration entails.   

Not only will it be crucial for organizations to collaborate with solutions providers to ensure they're managing their critical assets stored in the cloud effectively, but it will be necessary for organizations to commit to a Zero Trust mindset. 

Zero Trust is a philosophy that assumes attackers exist both inside and outside of a network - and trusts no identity blindly. Over the past year, we have seen an increase in attackers using malware and social engineering techniques to steal credentials and take over accounts. Therefore, I urge organizations to move away from standing access and "superusers" instead of adopting zero standing privilege and just-in-time provisioning to narrow the scope of a potential attack. 

Building your security perimeter with identity as the foundation can significantly improve an organization's overall security. Unfortunately, I suspect we'll see many companies learn this lesson the hard way in 2021. They'll experience a breach before finding an adequate security solution or shifting their trust mindset.

If we learned anything from 2020, it's that we cannot predict the exact outcome of the year ahead. However, digital transformation, cloud migration, and the security challenges that come along with digitization are here to stay. For companies looking to modernize or continue their modernization efforts in 2021, there is an excellent opportunity to build a proactive security posture through identity-centered decision making.


About the Author

Vibhuti Sinha 

As Saviynt's Chief Cloud Officer, Vibhuti Sinha, is the owner of Saviynt's cloud platform and products. He leads the strategy and innovation of cloud security products and is responsible for delivering them as a service.  He has 17+ years of experience in defining and building security models and solutions for enterprise and cloud platforms at several Fortune 500 organizations.

Published Friday, January 29, 2021 7:37 AM by David Marshall
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