Unsurprisingly, December is a quiet month for Zero Trust news with everyone wrapping up for the festive period, but there were a few insights and stories of note, particularly the Solarwinds hack. 

Q4 of any year is prediction season, where organizations of all sizes look into their crystal balls and pre-empt the year ahead. In this month’s Zero Trust Digest, we’ve rounded up the industry analysts key forecasts for the future:

  • By 2024, 25% of traditional large-enterprise CIOs will be held accountable for digital business operational results, effectively becoming “COO by proxy.” – Gartner
  • Distributed cloud: according to Gartner, “Distributed cloud is where cloud services are distributed to different physical locations, but the operation, governance, and evolution remain the responsibility of the public cloud provider.” Enabling organizations to have services physically closer will reduce latency, data costs, and help with data laws. – Gartner
  • Cybersecurity mesh: with organizations now having many assets that sit beyond the traditional perimeter, a cybersecurity mesh based on the identity of a person or thing is required to handle the complex nature of modern IT environments. – Gartner
  • CIOs will lead the bold disruptors: in 2021, 30% of firms will continue to accelerate their spending on cloud, security and risk, networks, and mobility. Leading CIOs will embrace cloud-first and platform strategies for speed and adaptiveness. – Forrester
  • Remote work drives uptick in insider threats: 33% of data breaches will be caused by insider incidents, up from 25% today. With continued economic uncertainty in 2021, CIOs will need to monitor three factors that will lead to an increase in insider attacks: forced remote working, employee job insecurity, and increased ease of stealing data. – Forrester
  • By the end of 2021, based on lessons learned, 80% of enterprises will put a mechanism in place to shift to cloud-centric infrastructure and applications twice as fast as before the pandemic – IDC
  • By 2023, coping with technical debt accumulated during the pandemic will shadow 70% of CIOs, causing financial stress, inertial drag on IT agility, and “forced march” migrations to the cloud – IDC
  • By 2023, an emerging cloud ecosystem for extending resource control and real-time analytics will be the underlying platform for all IT and business automation initiatives anywhere and everywhere – IDC
  • By 2023, half of the enterprises’ hybrid workforce and business automation efforts will be delayed or will fail outright due to underinvestment in building IT/Sec/DevOps teams with the right tools/skills – IDC

SolarWinds Hack: The implications for a Zero Trust approach to security

In December 2020, the Cybersecurity Infrastructure and Security Agency (CISA) advised of an advanced persistent threat compromise on government agencies, critical infrastructure, and private sector organizations.

“This threat poses a grave risk to the Federal Government and state, local, tribal, and territorial governments as well as critical infrastructure entities and other private sector organizations.” CISA

The SolarWinds Hack was a two-phase attack that allowed the attacker to forge security certificates, gaining access to applications that trusted that certificate, from there the attacker was then able to move laterally to attack other systems. 

You can read about how Zero Trust security would have been mitigated by Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) here.

2020 Workplace Mobility Report

T-Mobile’s 2020 Workplace Mobility Report looks at the business trends that IT leaders need to consider in evolving their digital transformation (DX) strategies. The key themes include:

  • A mobile-first culture drives business transformation: companies that prioritize a mobile-first approach will have a competitive edge through greater agility, collaboration and responsiveness. BYOD continues to grow due to increased flexibility and productivity for employees as well as cost advantages, however, IT leaders are mindful of the security risks involved.
  • Mobility requires a new approach to security: a mobile-centric business model requires organizations to be more vigilant about how they protect data. BYOD and BYOE environments require a zero-trust approach to security including contextually aware access decisions. 
  • 5G enables new levels of innovation: the major factors that are driving the growth of the global 5G infrastructure market are the need for high data transfer speed with low latency, the increased adoption of IoT devices, the implementation of automation technologies across the end-user industries, and exponential rise in data traffic. Companies need to consider how best to leverage 5G to accelerate DX initiatives. 

You can read the full report here.

Top 5 Growth Opportunities in the Cloud Industry for 2021 – What You Need to Know Now

The cloud is considered to be the foundation of DX, and the adoption of cloud services has only accelerated during the pandemic.  According to Frost & Sullivan’s recent survey, 52% of companies globally use public cloud IaaS right now, with another 34% expecting to add IaaS in the next two years. 

The five opportunities include:

  1. A hybrid, multi-cloud brings the cloud anywhere it’s needed: business attitudes towards the cloud have shifted, with it now being perceived as a scalable model to keep the business technologies running. The need for cloud services continues to surge, as data-dependent organizations look for seamless integration across their entire infrastructure. 
  2. Data migration remains a stumbling block: 48% of businesses have an initiative in place to become data-centric. The market is awash with data migration services to support the move to the cloud.
  3. Managed services are growing because the cloud is too urgent and complex to DIY: as businesses scrambled to the cloud at the start of the pandemic, it became clear that it is very easy to create a cloud instance, but not so easy to implement an effective cloud strategy. 64% of organizations worldwide have engaged with third-party managed or professional services providers to assist with their cloud journeys. 
  4. Co-location is hot again, thanks to edge and hybrid clouds: The rise of edge computing has driven the need for decentralized compute and storage resources. 
  5. Beware of digital overconfidence: 67% of businesses worldwide assess their digital transformation efforts ahead of others in their industry. The pandemic has separated the wheat from the chaff in a digital sense, and there is the realization that, for a lot of organizations, more mature operations are needed.

You can download the full report here