2020 Predictions: Cyberthreats Accelerate IT Ops Transformation, Modernization and Automation

Acronis Cyber Protect
formerly Acronis Cyber Backup

The pace of change in the world is accelerating and, as the world becomes more digital, IT professionals know that cyberthreats are evolving even faster. Everyone needs to protect their organizations and clients from the financial and reputational damage that cyberattacks cause, while maintaining employee productivity, revenue growth, and client satisfaction.

With that backdrop in mind, let’s consider these 10 predictions for 2020.

1. AI/ML transforms IT operations and cybersecurity

IDC predicts the annual growth rate of artificial intelligence (AI) systems will be 28.4% through 2023. These next few years will be crucial for organizations as they begin rolling out AI-powered cybersecurity protection solutions to counter the increased number of cyberthreats created by criminals using AI. As these AI-powered solutions are built, the training models must be kept safe and designed to be ethical (while understanding the unethical).

The age of AIOps and AISecOps is here and progressive IT teams and service providers are racing to protect themselves and their clients.

2. Decision making and data manipulation

Those AI/ML models need to be protected against AI poisoning and remain authentic, since making decisions on altered or corrupted data can be disastrous. For instance, the elections process requires data and systems that are interconnected, and political candidates leverage data and social tools to make targeted advertising decisions – all of which provide fertile ground for deep fakes and cyberattacks.

Data needs to be protected not just from loss, but from theft and manipulation. This need for data authenticity will drive the demand for cyber protection.

3. Backup is dead

Traditional data protection is no longer enough in the modern digital world. Data protection must be combined with cybersecurity to provide organizations with the new layers of protection and integrations needed in the new decade.

For too long, the data protection and backup operations folks and software engineers have not been working with their company’s cybersecurity experts, which has resulted in weakness, inefficiency and a lack of modern cyber protection people, processes, and tools. Cyber protection is the only effective approach to protect all data, applications, and systems.

4. Cyberthreats disrupt the IT channel

Ransomware will continue to cause turmoil for value-added resellers (VARs) and managed service providers (MSPs). Their roles will constantly change as the IT channel deals with the cyberthreats that are weakening the trust of their clients, who rely on them to protect their data. Modern approaches and solutions are the only easy and efficient way to bring enterprise-grade cybersecurity to the masses.

We will see a further decline in traditional data protection and anti-virus solutions, while seeing an increase in modern cybersecurity solutions that SMB and enterprise customers can benefit from.

5. Storage modernization

Storage has been a commodity for years, but the cloud is putting a giant magnifying glass on both the cost/performance ratio and the need for use-case-specific storage requirements. Sure, the storage wars continue, but increasingly service providers will perform assessments across the infrastructure and services that are storing their data – and strategically switch to modern use-case optimized services and appliances.

Those racks of old NAS, DAS, and SANs will disappear more rapidly in 2020, while hyperconverged, and cloud will continue growing.

6. VARs, MSPs and channel transformation

Believe it or not, when you hear that the IT channel is simultaneously dying and heating up, both statements are true. Long ago, progressive VARs and MSPs transformed their business processes, systems, and financial models to handle recurring services. Now the pressure is on to deliver even greater value to their clients.

The explosion of platforms and APIs – and vendors that make them available – has enabled a completely new category of Cloud Distribution. For the managed service providers that leverage them, a whole new level of value-added services can be delivered to their clients. As for the laggards, it’s M&A time, which works out well for almost everyone, especially clients.

7. Integrations and APIs

Speaking of the explosion of APIs and application and services integration, vendors in the IT channel that are not actively creating a community and marketplace around solutions with an ecosystem will fall further behind. The move to SaaS and software-defined everything will enable new use cases and revenue-generating services.

Data is at the heart of this revolution and in 2020 we will see old school ISVs, IT channel vendors, and SaaS applications partnering together in greater numbers.

8. California CCPA, GDPR, and privacy regulations

Add privacy – a subset of cyber protection – to your list of basic needs like food, water, air, and shelter. Where regulatory enforcers once sought to protect the industry, the new focus is protecting individuals' data. The California Consumer Privacy Act (the USA's first compliance analog to the EU's General Data Protection Regulation) took effect on New Year’s Day 2020 – and the penalties for non-compliance are no joke.

As with GDPR, we can expect California regulators to make examples of high-profile violators. Early movers on privacy improvements will have a better shot of avoiding that humiliating and expensive fate.

9. The SAPAS Balance Goals become universal

Last year, Acronis codified a way of pulling many of the concepts that drive everything we do to balance what we call the Five Vectors of Cyber Protection. Also known by the acronym SAPAS, these include safety, accessibility, privacy, authenticity, and security. The challenge is maintaining the balance needed to solve for these five vectors.

We love sharing this insight and seeing IT and cyber protection professionals think through how these vectors will cause issues in almost every aspect of an organization if not implemented well.

10. Risk analysis and tracking, and getting #CyberFit

Speaking of balancing all Five Vectors of Cyber Protection (SAPAS), service providers have an ever-growing need to protect their clients against cyberthreats, vulnerabilities, and employees that can cause issues or negatively affect productivity. Technology is both a blessing and a curse. Smart service providers are all about modernizing their services, training their employees and clients, and helping their clients understand the risks, define their risk tolerance, and adopt the solutions that enable them to be #CyberFit – ready to face any challenge that comes their way.

What is your plan to be #CyberFit in 2020?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Acronis’ 2020 Predictions originally appeared on vmblog.com.

As a President at Acronis, Gaidar is responsible for partner enablement, education, and Acronis marketing organizations. He joined Acronis in 2013 as a Business Manager to CEO, becoming Vice President of online business and General Manager for consumer business in 2016, Chief Marketing Officer in 2017, Chief Success Officer in 2020, and President in 2023. Previously an investment director at venture capital fund Runa Capital, Gaidar was responsible for seed-stage investments, advising and educating entrepreneurs, supporting the business development of portfolio companies, and maintaining relationships with startup incubators and accelerators. Before Runa Capital, Gaidar served in various roles at Microsoft, from a technology evangelist to a Microsoft Seed Fund managing director. Before Microsoft, he worked as a software engineer and IT administrator for various companies. Gaidar holds a master’s degree in chemistry.

About Acronis

A Swiss company founded in Singapore in 2003, Acronis has 15 offices worldwide and employees in 50+ countries. Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud is available in 26 languages in 150 countries and is used by over 20,000 service providers to protect over 750,000 businesses.