When the pandemic hit and the world stayed home, ensuring business continuity was everyone’s priority. Business executives and IT leaders alike had one simple task — keeping the lights on.
While the dust of the initial chaos has settled, there’s still more uncertainty ahead. And business leaders need to get ready for whatever comes next in 2021.
Within many functions across the enterprise, this means juggling multiple priorities and overcoming various challenges. But in the end, ‘being ready’ hinges on two things for everyone: gaining visibility and control with rapid response over the network.
That’s why at Tanium, we’ve pulled together the thoughts of senior leaders from across Tanium to provide their outlook for changes coming in 2021.
The endpoint will become the new network
The distributed workforce is here to stay. That means CIOs will need to modernize their IT infrastructure. This requires pushing technology out to every employee, empowering them with knowledge, tools and connectivity while limiting cyber risk. With the traditional corporate network a thing of the past, the endpoint will begin to take center stage.
As zero trust becomes more widespread, organizations will have to refocus on visibility, hygiene, and endpoint hardening to maintain security. There will be a shift away from point solutions toward consolidation on unified endpoint management and security platforms.
As 5G drives exponential growth in data and devices, CIOs will need to figure out how to scale their technology stack from managing thousands to millions of endpoints.
Distributed data will be key to managing risk
The quality, timeliness, and accuracy of the data companies have at their fingertips will increasingly be the difference between strategic success or failure.
In 2021, the world’s leading organizations will finally be able to leverage data-centric tools to accurately understand and manage risk continuously. But they will also realize that centralized data isn’t always the right move, especially in a cloud-first environment.
By keeping data on the endpoint, users can work more cost-effectively and efficiently — whether they’re investigating a breach or understanding a device’s health.
The government workforce will remain distributed — and vulnerable
Governments have been thrown into turmoil in 2020, borrowing heavily to execute appropriate COVID-19 response programs. That may continue in 2021, ramping up even more pressure on budgets.
IT leaders will react by stripping back spend to the basics to conserve every budget dollar. This could introduce cybersecurity gaps for attackers to exploit unless organizations find the right private sector technology partners.
The focus must be on securing the distributed workforce by following industry standards and best practices where possible to minimize cyber risk.
Ransomware-as-a-service will evolve and expand to new targets
Ransomware emerged in 2020 as the cyberweapon of choice for hackers looking to target distributed workforces. In 2021, for-hire services will proliferate and aim at new targets, imperiling any unprotected endpoint.
To fight back, IT leaders will need to move away from the point solutions many invested in to manage individual cloud environments.
There’ll be a real push for platform- and environment-agnostic tools that offer visibility and control across all compute environments and devices.
This will help provide better data and rapid response capabilities where organizations need it most. That will include streamlined, immediately actionable alerts and a “kill switch” –– to shut things down and stop the spread before an infection invades the entire network.
CISOs will get back to the basics of IT hygiene
IT teams are in for a wild ride. Strategies typically planned a year in advance will need to evolve at least every six months, or even every quarter.
Security departments are taking a page from the engineering playbook and working via principles of failing fast and agile project management. Teams will need access to real-time, accurate data more than ever to guide these shifts.
At the same time, chief information security officers will continue to come under pressure from business executives to relax corporate security policies (e.g., device usage, network split tunneling) to support remote workers. To find a way through without exposing their endpoints to new threats, security leaders must focus on IT hygiene and best practices like patch management, vulnerability assessment, and risk. Increasingly, they will demand managed control planes that pull structured and unstructured data together in meaningful ways. Their output will help IT ops and security teams unite around a single source of the truth for endpoint data.
A word of warning for 2021. Chief information security officers (CISOs) understandably had to focus on availability and connectivity last year. But they shouldn’t lose sight of the other essential roles security plays in the organization, specifically confidentiality and integrity.
Increased cybersecurity automation will allow companies to refocus priorities
In 2021, the cybersecurity job market will focus on automation and doing more with less. This doesn’t mean eliminating jobs, but rather removing repetitive, tedious tasks. Taking the boring stuff off the table still leaves a lot of engaging work for talented cyber professionals.
The pipeline for talent will continue to lag behind the demand. However, we expect to see increased interest in cybersecurity programs at colleges, more robust internship programs, and better technical training and certifications for the security industry.
The channel is set to shine in 2021
Continued business uncertainty may discourage some from hiring in 2021. That will bring more opportunities for channel partners to help customers effectively manage and secure their distributed workers. Organizations will leverage those tried-and-true relationships for help, recommendations and resources to supplement or completely outsource work.
Although this reliance on existing partnerships may make it difficult for other channel players to strike new deals, there will be an increase in demand from vendors. It’s time for system integrators (SIs), managed service providers (MSPs), and global systems integrators (GSIs) to shine.
To see how Tanium can help you prepare for what’s next in 2021, sign up for a two-week trial of our endpoint management platform for IT operations, security and risk teams.