Predicting 2021—Commvault Execs Look at IT and Security Trends for the New Year

Predictions by a variety of Commvault executives

Rahul Pawar, Vice President of Product Management at Commvault (Tinton Falls)

  • As More People Work from Home, Intelligent Endpoint Data Management Emerges as a Priority for IT 

         The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in employers around the world asking millions of their employees to work from home. As a result, many employers and employees realized that working from home delivered them significant benefits (no commutes, lower office expenses). This has led many employers to institute policies that will enable their employees to work from home at least a few days a week even after the pandemic (hopefully) subsides. However, one drawback of having employees work from home is that they have much less control over data protection, data-privacy regulatory compliance and other aspects of data management than they do when they connect to corporate networks from their offices. At the same time, ransomware and other cyberattacks are increasing, while governments are implementing and enforcing stricter data-privacy regulations. Because of this, in 2021 expect to see more companies deploy solutions that allow them to intelligently protect, govern, and otherwise manage the data on their employees’ laptops and other endpoints. In particular, expect to see the growth of intelligent data-management solutions that use AI [artificial intelligence] and similar technologies. These technologies will allow companies to nip ransomware, data-privacy and similar data-management problems in the bud. 

  • Enterprises’ Need for Cloud Native Applications Will Fuel Growth of the Container Market  

         The agility that containers provide to organizations trying to accelerate their move to the cloud will continue to fuel demand for container-based applications. In particular, the fact that containers can be used to make applications cloud native will drive the growth of the container market. By using containers to make their applications cloud native, companies can improve these applications’ cloud scalability and performance, and more easily move these applications between different clouds — helping them accelerate their digital-transformation initiatives.

Param Kumarasamy, VP of Product Management, Commvault | Courtesy Commvault via LinkedIn


Param Kumarasamy, Vice President of Product Management at Commvault  (Tinton Falls)

  • Organizations Will Search for Ways to Optimize Their Cloud Spend 

        COVID-19 has accelerated many companies’ cloud-migration efforts, and generated growing C-level executive demand for minimized data-center and other on-premises infrastructure footprints, and this move to the cloud will only continue. However, as rising cloud-service expenses increasingly bite into organizations’ IT budgets, expect in 2021 to see IT departments scramble to find ways to optimize their cloud costs. These efforts are likely to include cloud arbitrage — meaning that companies will try to find the lowest-cost cloud provider able to deliver the SLAs [service-level agreements] and other performance capabilities they need for a particular workload. Cloud arbitrage will, in turn, increase interest in solutions that allow companies to easily move data between different clouds. In addition, companies will adopt intelligent data-management solutions that allow them to analyze and monitor the data they have stored across multiple clouds with a fine-toothed comb, and to move less-critical and / or less-used data to lower-cost cloud storage tiers or just delete the data if it is not needed, thereby reducing their cloud service expenses.   

Don Foster, Global Vice President of Sales Engineering at Commvault  (Dallas, Texas)

  • Deep Fake Technologies Will Drive Growth of the Data Integrity Testing and Verification Market 

                     AI has developed to the point where deep fake AI technologies can produce realistic images and videos of people doing things they have never done. These technologies can be used for fun — for example, by making Tom Holland and Robert Downy Jr. the stars of Back to the Future. However, they also pose a risk. These technologies make it harder than ever for enterprises to ensure that their images, video and other data streams have not been secretly manipulated by AI. For companies making important decisions based on this data, the risk of making the wrong decision after being deceived by a deep fake or other AI-manipulated data increases by the day.

To reduce this risk, expect companies in 2021 to start demanding data-integrity and verification solutions that allow them to detect images, video and other data streams altered by AI. And in response to this demand, expect both established IT leaders and startups to introduce new data-integrity and verification solutions that allow these companies to avoid being fooled by deep fakes.  

  • DevOps Will Transform from Sidekick to Superhero in Enterprises’ Fight for Digital Dominance 

                     DevOps — responsible for developing new applications, interfaces and other digital services — has been treated by C-level executives as a sidekick (though a valuable one, like Robin) for years. These executives saw DevOps as important in helping their organizations realize their business objectives, even if the digital services built by DevOps were not viewed as central to the organization’s success. However, since COVID-19 has put the world economy’s digital transformation into overdrive, C-Suite executives are increasingly realizing that their company’s digital services don’t just support their core business, they are their core business. They now see the success or failure of their organizations hinging on whether their DevOps teams can deliver their customers and other stakeholders the digital services they want when they want them. They no longer expect DevOps to be a sidekick. They expect DevOps to be the superhero. Those organizations whose DevOps teams can step up from being Robin to being Batman will be poised to succeed over the next decade in our new, post-COVID economy. 

Matt Tyrer, Senior Manager of Solutions Marketing — Americas at Commvault (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)

  • Security, Governance and Other Data Analytics Come to the Cloud 

                     In 2020, enterprises around the world rushed to move applications and workloads to the cloud to accommodate the shift to people working from home due to COVID-19. However, the chickens have come home to roost, and these companies are now waking up to the fact that they don’t have the security, data governance and other analytics in place to intelligently manage the data they have moved from their on-premises infrastructure to various clouds. Meanwhile, cybercriminals are developing more sophisticated ways to steal or ransom this data. In addition, government regulators still expect companies to govern their data in accordance with the GDPR [General Data Protection Regulation] and other data privacy regulations, whether this data is found at their data center or on the cloud. Given this, I expect that over the next six months we will see more than one company that had jumped unprepared into the cloud suffer a ransomware attack or data breach, or be hit with a major fine for lax data-privacy compliance, or a similar incident. The cloud is not inherently insecure or hard to govern, but while most companies have at least some technologies and processes to secure, govern and otherwise intelligently manage the data found within the four walls of their data centers, many do not have the same technologies and processes in place for the data they now have on multiple clouds. That is why I am hearing extensively from customers that one of their priorities in the new year will be the extension of their core data-center security, governance and other analytics services to the cloud. And it is why I expect that in 2021 we will see strong growth for data analytics solutions that allow companies to audit their data, comply with data-privacy regulations, secure data from ransomware and other cyberattacks, and rapidly recover their data after a disaster — whether this data is located on-premises or in the cloud

Manoj Nair, General Manager at Metallic (San Francisco Bay Area)

  • Companies Will Race to Solve a New Data Gravity Problem — Employees Working from Home  

·                     COVID-19, and the massive shift it has caused in the number of employees working from home, has exacerbated companies’ existing data gravity challenges. Even if (and hopefully when) the pandemic subsides, a much more dispersed workforce is here to stay — and with a more dispersed workforce comes more distributed data. This difficulty compounds companies’ existing data gravity problems with their on-premises infrastructure. These companies want to move their applications and workloads to the public cloud, but the gravity of data on existing on-premises infrastructure makes this difficult. Expect to see in 2021 a surge of corporate investment in technologies and services that allow companies to address this data gravity challenge, including new wired 10G and wireless 5G technologies. In addition, expect to see a greater adoption of Backup as a Service (BaaS) and other intelligent data-management solutions that enable companies to move much of their on-premises data and the data found on employee laptops to the cloud, while also enabling them to secure, protect, govern and otherwise control the distributed data that remains at the edge. 

  • The Growing Ransomware Threat Will Increase Demand for Built-In Security and Data Backup  

·                     At the start of 2020, cyberattacks were already on the upswing. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, things have only gotten worse — in April the FBI’s Cyber Division cited a 400% increase in cyberattack complaints from pre-coronavirus levels, with as many as 4,000 occurring a day. This increase in attacks should come as no surprise. In this environment, with companies rapidly moving on-premises applications to the cloud, and many employees now working from home on insecure networks, enterprises have exposed the soft belly of their security systems to cyber criminals. To counter this threat, expect to see enterprises quickly put into place Defense-In-Depth strategies that use a combination of attack detection, data security and data backup to fend off or (in the worst case) rapidly recover from a growing number of sophisticated ransomware and other cyberattacks. Firewalls and other stand-alone security technologies are essential to any Defense-in-Depth strategy, but they are not enough. Businesses must also ensure that security is built into their applications, to provide another layer of security and move security technologies closer to the data it is designed to protect. In addition, companies will increase their adoption of new BaaS solutions that allow them to quickly recover data if an attack does find a way through their stand-alone security solutions and their applications’ built-in security. With these BaaS solutions, companies can back up their cloud, on-premises and endpoint primary data to an air-gapped cloud service. This additional layer of protection provides companies with a pristine secondary copy of their primary data that they can restore if a cyberattack does find a chink in their data-security armor. With the three elements of a Defense in Depth strategy in place — threat detection, data security and data backup — enterprises can emerge unscathed from this perfect storm of cybersecurity threats.   

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