While we do seem to be slowly and cautiously emerging from the pandemic (fingers crossed), 2022 is still shaping up to be a year of challenge and change for many businesses which will shape strategies and focus areas for the coming year and beyond.
The risks of cybercrime continue to loom as hackers grow more sophisticated in their attacks. These fears have been heightened in recent weeks as a result of events in Ukraine and the increased threat of state sponsored cyberattacks on UK businesses. Security is already high on most business agendas as more and more companies adopt hybrid working models, post-pandemic. Employees need to be able to access corporate networks from any location on any device. If that wasn’t enough, businesses are also under increasing pressure to take more responsibility for their impact on the planet.
As many organisations start their new financial year, what specifically should be their key cybersecurity, hybrid working and sustainability goals?
Higher uptake of Zero Trust strategies – the network is hostile!
Zero Trust is a cybersecurity strategy that helps prevent data breaches by eliminating trust from a network’s architecture. We are likely to see more organisations look to implement stricter access controls that ensure anyone trying to gain internal or external access, is first verified. Last year the US government issued legislation and executive orders around Zero Trust to improve the nation’s cyber security. In the UK, the National Cyber Security Centre has published design principals for zero trust architectures. In the current geo-political environment, it’s very likely that we’ll see organisations and even governments worldwide follow suit and adopt similar strategies.
Greater protection and resilience against ransomware
Ransomware will continue to be a thorn in every IT team’s side with larger scale and more sophisticated attacks emerging. Cybercriminals will not only demand payment to decrypt data but will also threaten to expose data if they aren’t paid enough. With organisations desperate to protect themselves from such threats, we are likely to see a rise in demand for AI-driven ransomware detection platforms that integrate with existing network and security architecture as well as capabilities like security information and event management (SIEM) and security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) to help deal with attacks.
More own-brand security solutions from hyperscalers
In response to threats of data breaches, major cloud vendors are beginning to introduce bulletproof data protection solutions to give customers much needed reassurance. Hyperscalers are already taking steps to develop their own branded security solutions, Microsoft already has a plethora of security tools in Azure to address this issue and various acquisitions such as Google acquiring Actifio and AWS buying CloudEndure show that this is an area of continued focus for the hyperscalers. We’d expect to see more announcements from hyperscalers as they look to demonstrate their stringent security credentials and resilience to attack.
Blockchain goes mainstream
Blockchain will continue to a be an evolving defence against cybercrime. Blockchain was originally created to provide a secure platform for cryptocurrencies, but today, many major banks use it to prevent identity theft and facilitate secure trading. Throughout 2022 and beyond, we’ll see much broader applications of blockchain across all industries, including social uses, such as protecting health records, critical infrastructure, and election integrity.
The pandemic showed that remote working is viable and even preferable for many employees. Recent research shows that more than 40% of workers would seek another job if employers require a full return to business premises. We are already seeing HR, IT and facilities teams collaborate more closely to ensure flexible, hybrid working is available to all employees. Hybrid workers will expect their employer to support them with devices and technology that enable them to work wherever they wish, while ensuring a more equitable workplace.
The end of the traditional office
The traditional workplace with defined desks and spaces will change this year to adapt to employee needs. Staff will come to the office not because they must, but because they want face-to-face time with specific people. We’ll move away from individual assigned workstations and we will see the creation of more collaborative room designs and technologies fit to support a modern workplace experience.
More flexible solutions, such as Desktop as a Service (DaaS)
Businesses can expect to make longer-term investments in better remote working technology. More organisations will move away from traditional desktop infrastructure and adopt cloud services, such as cloud-based Desktop as a Service (DaaS). This approach gives much more flexibility to individuals and IT departments, as employees can access their digital desktop at any time on different types of device. Cloud services will also enable businesses to scale such services up or down instantly, saving costs and increasing resiliency to change.
Stronger push from the C-suite and beyond
The pandemic raised people’s awareness of their environmental impact and wellbeing, and even affected our buying habits. According to a study by Deloitte, 28% of consumers stopped buying certain products due to ethical or environmental concerns. Among Generation Z, that figure rose to 45%. This year, businesses can expect more internal pressure from the C-Suite to put sustainability at the heart of business and brand strategy in response to shifting consumer preferences.
Bigger uptake of cloud computing
We will see more organisations look to cloud computing as a means to improve their environmental credentials. All the major cloud vendors are focusing on using greener energy and minimizing their carbon footprint, creating benefits they can pass on to their customers. According to research by Accenture, migrating to the public cloud can reduce CO2 emissions by 59 million tons per year—equal to taking 22 million cars off the road. With pressure coming from shareholders to customers, 2022 could be a tipping point for companies yet to adopt cloud services.
Better tools to measure environmental impact
New and improved features for observability technologies will help companies measure the carbon emissions of their infrastructure, leading to more informed decisions to boost sustainability. To date, organisations have often struggled to calculate the environmental impact of their IT due to a lack of reliable data and tools. This year, we’ll see a greater emphasis on sustainability from vendors and consultancies through more granular visibility and carbon calculators and to support their customers in cutting their carbon emissions.
The only way we can collectively make a difference in the climate crisis is through better governance. In the UK, the government has already committed to achieving net-zero emissions by at least 2050, and we can expect to see more legislation and mandates to help achieve this target. In particular, from April this year, UK firms will have to disclose climate-related financial information to ensure they consider the risks and opportunities they face as a result of climate change. This first step to compulsory sustainability reporting will reveal who is taking responsibility and who is falling short, and customers will be paying attention.
Sebastian Carney, Head of Environment, Social, Governance and Sustainability at Daisy, says:
“For many businesses, the challenge so far has been how to minimise social and environmental impacts while maintaining or growing market share. However, I believe we will see sustainability becoming an essential strategy to business success. We can expect better governance and transparency, revealing who truly makes a good contribution. People will also think more about who they work for, and who they or their firm work with.
“Expect your staff, customers and communities to challenge you on your sustainability. Be prepared to justify your choices in a way that recognises all stakeholders and goes beyond financial benefits. Shout about what you’re doing well, and don’t be afraid of the learning process on the way. Consider collaborating with other organisations, but most importantly, stay true to what you believe in.”
Partnering for success
Achieving all your cyber security, hybrid working and ESG goals may appear a daunting challenge. However, working with Daisy and our technical and industry expertise, we can help you towards becoming a more secure, flexible and sustainable business. If you’d like to have a chat with one of our experts please call us on 0344 863 3000.