[ Our friends at Commvault (Tinton Falls) have been looking into their crystal ball for us for several years. Here are their predictions for 2022.]
Enterprises Will Scramble to Control Cloud-Driven Data Sprawl
In 2022 enterprises will seek to bring order to the growing, chaotic data sprawl they face — caused by their rapid adoption of dozens of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications and multiple cloud services prior to and during the pandemic — by implementing programs and solutions that will allow them to comprehensively manage the storage, security, protection, governance, optimization and use of all of their data, whether it lives in a SaaS application, cloud service, on-premises or on an employee’s laptop.
Those enterprises that succeed in gaining this type of control over their data sprawl will be able to ensure the fundamental integrity of their businesses and accelerate their digital-transformation efforts. Those that do not will find this uncontrolled data sprawl creating a gap between where their data environment is and where it needs to be, if they hope to grow in the digital economy and ensure the fundamental integrity of their businesses.
Growth of the Cloud-Managed-Services Market Will Accelerate
In 2022, enterprises will step up their use of cloud managed services providers (MSPs) for cloud-related IT responsibilities that they previously managed in-house — responsibilities like customizing off-the-shelf SaaS applications for their particular business requirements, ensuring that their SaaS applications comply with government data privacy regulations, and protecting their SaaS and other cloud-based data from malicious cyberattacks. In addition, many enterprises will also contract with cloud MSPs to help them with more strategic digital-transformation initiatives, allowing them to speed up these initiatives and expand their development of unique cloud-based digital services that differentiate them from their competitors.
Enterprises have already rounded second base in their cloud journeys by outsourcing the management of the infrastructure for their applications to SaaS and public cloud service providers. In 2022, expect these enterprises to turn for home by partnering with cloud MSPs to help them manage the set-up, customization and administration of these cloud-based applications — creating new revenue opportunities for IT service providers with the expertise, resources and relationships with solution providers required to deliver these types of cloud-based managed services.
Don Foster, Global Vice President of Sales Engineering at Commvault (Dallas)
Get Ready for Data Integrity Fire Drills
In 2022 CEOs, CFOs, CIOs and other C-Suite executives will begin mandating that their IT teams conduct periodic “fire drills” to test the strength, resilience and speed of their cyber-defense and disaster-recovery processes and solutions.
These executives might believe that their organization’s IT team has implemented a robust strategy to fend off and, if necessary, recover from ransomware and other attacks. But with the integrity of their businesses threatened by these attacks, these executives are following the famous old Russian proverb: “Trust, but verify.” They might “trust” that their IT team’s strategy will work, they are also “verifying” that it will work.
Data integrity fire drills can check if an organization’s cyberattack defenses are robust, or discover weak points in these defenses that cyber criminals might exploit. These drills can also verify that, if a worst-case scenario occurs and data has been locked, altered or destroyed by an attack, it can be quickly recovered from a secure backup copy — turning what could have been a data disaster into a data speed bump.
Reza Morakabati, CIO at Commvault (Boston)
Enterprises Bring DevOps’ Agility to Data Management
Over the next year, enterprises will launch new agile, DevOps-like teams dedicated to optimizing how they manage and use these enterprises’ data. These groups — composed of data security, protection, analytics and other types of data experts, along with IT operations staff — will be tasked with quickly and efficiently improving the security, protection, governance and value of their organizations’ data.
These DevOps-like agile data teams are needed because, having accelerated their digital-transformation initiatives during the pandemic, enterprises now find themselves unable to view or control all the data they have sprawled across dozens of SaaS applications, multiple cloud services and various types of on-premises infrastructure. They also need agile data teams that shorten cycle times for new data-management-solution releases, increasing the frequency of these releases so that the enterprises’ other IT and business teams can experiment with them and quickly provide feedback on how well they help improve business outcomes.
With these agile data teams in place, they can gain this centralized visibility and control, allowing them to secure this data against attacks from cybercriminals; recover it if a successful cyberattack or other disaster does lock, alter or destroy it; and move it between SaaS applications, clouds and infrastructures. These teams can also work with business line employees to find new ways to use data analytics, AI [artificial intelligence], ML [machine learning] and other tools to glean valuable insights for this data that will improve their business outcomes.
Those enterprises that create agile data teams next year will be able to continuously optimize how they store, protect, secure, govern and use their data — allowing them to ensure the fundamental integrity of their businesses while also liberating them to do amazing things with this data.
Data Protection Solutions Will Play a Bigger Role in the Battle Against Ransomware
Data protection solutions currently serve as many IT teams’ last line of defense against cyberattacks. These teams use these solutions to create an independent, pristine and verified backup copy of their organization’s data, which they can use to rapidly restore this data if a cyberattack locks, alters or destroys it.
However, since they provide IT teams with a comprehensive, secure representation of all their data, data-protection solutions can play an even greater role in IT teams’ never-ending war with cybercriminals. Specifically, IT teams can use AI and other technologies integrated into these solutions to monitor both their organization’s backup data and their primary data (while this primary data is being backed up). If this monitoring reveals anomalous or suspicious behavior indicating a cyberattack is in progress, these solutions can then alert the IT team, allowing them to stop these attacks, or at least contain them before they do much damage.
As ransomware attacks increase in both number and sophistication, expect data protection solutions in 2022 to integrate more AI-powered cyberattack monitoring capabilities into their solutions, enabling IT teams to use them as “another set of eyes” on their data in their ongoing battle with cybercriminals.
The Cloud’s Growing Data Gravity Will Attract Data-Protection Solutions
While organizations have been using data-protection solutions to back up their on-premises data for years, many have been slow to use these solutions to protect their SaaS application data and other types of data they have stored in the cloud.
However, as more and more organizations move both a higher percentage and more important data to the cloud, the cloud’s data gravity — its power to attract solutions, services and other data — has increased exponentially. The growing data gravity of the cloud is now attracting data protection solutions to it, as organizations seek to be able to back up and rapidly restore cloud-based data after a cyberattack, misconfiguration or other disaster.
Further fueling data-protection solutions’ growing attraction to the cloud is the fact that IT professionals are waking up to the fact that, under the SaaS and cloud service providers’ shared responsibility model, they are responsible for all the data they store in their SaaS applications and elsewhere on the cloud. As recent successful cyberattacks on cloud-based data demonstrate, when organizations do not protect this data by creating a pristine, verified backup copy of it that they can restore after a successful ransomware or other cyberattack, the results can be devastating.
Insurance companies are also causing the cloud to attract more data-protection solutions. Faced with high ransomware payouts, insurance companies are now requiring their customers to put in place data-protection strategies for their SaaS and other cloud-based data before they write or renew cyberattack insurance policies.
On top of all of this, cybercriminals are launching more and more sophisticated ransomware attacks, and the damage caused by successful attacks is becoming more visible.
All these reasons are why we can expect that in 2022 the cloud’s growing data gravity will attract more data-protection solutions, with practically every organization with SaaS or other cloud-based data having implemented a strategy to back up and rapidly restore this data before the end of the year.