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Skills, Security and Selection: Looking ahead to 2022

The past year saw organizations accelerate their digital transformations as the need to support distributed workforces continued to grow because of the global pandemic.

More than 20 percent of businesses that adopted software as a result of COVID-19 plan to keep running it, according to the Gartner Digital Markets 2021 COVID-19 Impact on Business Strategy survey.

As a result, cloud spending increased significantly. IDC forecasts cloud infrastructure spending will grow 12 percent to $74.3 billion in 2021. As enterprise cloud infrastructures expand, businesses will need to invest in solutions, services and skills that help them make the most efficient use of their cloud resources. Below are four technology trends we believe IT executives should follow closely in 2022.

The IT skills shortage looms large

One of the biggest barriers to adopting new technologies is a shortage of qualified IT professionals. A November 2021 report from technology education company Skillsoft found 54 percent of IT decision makers had openings they could not fill and 38 percent said they had three or more positions that remained open. Worldwide, the most challenging areas to find qualified talent were cybersecurity, cloud computing and analytics and big data.

Technology is also changing rapidly, which makes it difficult for IT teams to keep up. For example, hyperscale cloud providers regularly release updates and new functionality, which can be especially hard for smaller teams to support. This means organizations aren’t always able to get the most value from their IT solutions, because they don’t have the required skills to take advantage of innovations.

Despite this skill shortage, organizations must continue to improve their IT infrastructures and innovate to meet customer expectations. Sticking with the status quo isn’t an option. One solution to the skills shortage is for businesses to turn to partners who have consulting services teams with solution engineers, cloud architects and IT project managers with in-demand skillsets and experience who can fill in gaps that organizations may have in their own internal IT teams. This way, they’ll be able to continue to transform their operations and meet the expectations of customers and partners.

Ransomware continues to grow

Ransomware made big headlines in 2021, compromising healthcare, government, transportation systems and fuel supply chains. Many more unpublicized attacks occurred with organizations not wanting to reveal attackers had compromised their IT systems for fear of damage to their corporate reputation.

In 2022, large, public ransomware attacks will continue to push IT executives to seek more security assurances from their cloud service providers. According to IDC’s 2021 State of Ransomware Study, approximately 37 percent of global organizations reported they were the victim of a form of ransomware attack over the previous 12 months. The 2021 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report found ransomware doubled in frequency in 2021, making up 10 percent of all breaches.

Given the shortage of qualified security professionals in the job market — there is an IT security position shortage of approximately 2.7 million, according to the non-profit International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium — organizations will be hard-pressed to secure their expanding digital footprints that are more vulnerable than in the past because of the rise in employees working remotely. But they will be able to turn to third-party providers offering IT security and backup solutions. Services like Managed Detection and Response, that allow enterprises to detect and respond to attacks, vulnerabilities and misconfigurations can help fill the security skills gap. Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service, which uses the cloud to backup and protect data, while also allowing for the on-demand ordering of virtual machines in the event of a failover, can add additional resilience to enterprise networks.

Multi-cloud becomes a more seamless experience

Multi-cloud networks, comprising different public and private clouds, aren’t new, but they are becoming more popular and prevalent. There is a distinct difference though between an enterprise network using multiple clouds and a multi-cloud network. A network relying on multiple different clouds runs the risk of creating information solos where applications can’t talk to one another because they’re running in separate clouds and data can’t be shared. This is bad for collaboration and data analytics.

In 2022, we believe organizations are increasingly going to ensure workloads running on different clouds can run seamlessly together with governance to centrally control security and policy across all their workloads, regardless of where those workloads reside. This will create opportunities for carrier-agnostic service providers with expertise across multiple cloud platforms to assist organizations looking to gain better visibility and control across their multiple clouds.

The distributed enterprise model will expand

In 2022, companies will continue to need cloud and security solutions that allow employees, partners and customers to access their network from anywhere. This will put stress on existing networks, forcing organizations to redesign their architectures and how they deliver services. But there will be benefits for those organizations that succeed in their distributed models. By 2023, Gartner predicts 75 percent of organizations that exploit distributed enterprise benefits will realize revenue growth 25 percent faster than competitors.

Edge computing is also set to grow in 2022 as businesses push more processing power closer to their data sources. This not only improves network efficiency, but also allows organizations to reduce latency and process their data more quickly, which can be crucial for applications that rely on near-real-time information, such as wearable healthcare devices, manufacturing analytics and smart electrical grid analysis.

Public and private cloud will play a major role in the growth of the distributed enterprise. Aptum’s Cloud Impact Study found 69 percent of organizations want to accelerate their cloud deployments, but need expertise to help them achieve their goals. This will create opportunities for service providers with expertise operating across public cloud, private cloud and on-premises deployments to help customers identify the optimal environment for each of their workloads and assist them in building high-performance, resilient architectures.

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