Predictions for How Work-From-Home Will Impact IT and Security Strategies in 2021

Continuing work-from-home setups caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will impact security, employee collaboration, and business processes in 2021. Here, IT executives comment on the changes they see within organizations caused by the scaled-up WFH routines and what they expect for the coming year.

Endpoint security investments will increase. Research conducted pre-COVID-19 revealed that 68% of IT security professionals said their company experienced endpoint attacks that compromised data or IT infrastructure. On the corporate security front, endpoint security spending is going to rise in 2021 at an even greater rate than it has over the past few years, as the shift to remote work brought about by COVID-19 has exposed countless new security vulnerabilities. From the attackers' perspective, endpoints have now become more lucrative than ever, with a tempting attack vector aimed at compromising a home network or a personal machine and from there moving laterally with a single hop into sensitive corporate assets (either cloud or on-prem via a VPN connection). This will increase investment in endpoint isolation products, specifically, that separate corporate access from non-corporate/personal access.Tal Zamir, Founder and CTO, Hysolate

Increased adoption of DataOps 
Where DevOps aligns developers and IT teams to accelerate software delivery and infrastructure changes, DataOps is all about streamlining the preparation of data so developers can leverage it during the application building process. There’s been talk for the last few years about DataOps processes and strategies taking off, but we have yet to really see this in practice across businesses. Next year we can expect to see more DataOps adoption, requiring companies to overcome traditional organizational and cultural barriers that separate people from data if they want to implement DataOps properly. Companies will also need to reconcile the competing interests of data provisioning to different groups of users with the need to identify and protect personal and sensitive data.—John Pocknell, Senior Market Strategist, Quest Software

We’ll see the consequences of employees letting their guards down as work-from-home extends. Many employees will continue to work remotely in 2021 to slow the spread of COVID-19 until a vaccine can be reliably distributed. Consequently, bad actors are no longer following these employees “through the door” when looking to steal data. Instead, they will seek to take advantage of workers who have been remote since the start of the pandemic, as they may be more likely to be letting down their guard when it comes to following security protocols. This relaxation on security protocol—combined with threats that already exist in a rushed remote work environment—will result in data loss rates exceeding what we saw in 2020.—James Carder, Chief Security Officer for LogRhythm

The shift to remote everything will forever alter how business is done. One of the longest-lasting technology impacts of the pandemic will be a “remote everything” mindset. From the growth of data and cloud to an increase in working from home, there’s been a fundamental shift in how companies do business. And it appears there’s no going back.  Face-to-face meetings that typically required travel, can now happen whenever and wherever, enabling teams to drive results more quickly and start executing. While I’m sure we’ll all travel again for business, I anticipate we’ll be much more deliberate about it. Organizations will want to redefine how they conduct business and find new ways to operate more efficiently—whether in-person, virtually or both. The shift to remote work will open up organizations and their employees to more security risks. As companies look at new ways of doing businesses, it will be imperative for them to ensure that critical work applications, cloud-based productivity apps and next-gen collaboration tools are always available and properly backed up. A clear data protection strategy will be more important than ever for companies to avoid downtime and lost revenue.Phil Brace, Veritas’ Executive Vice President of Worldwide Field Operations