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    2021 Technology Predictions

    Digital Transformation

    Digital Transformation Projects Accelerate

    Digital transformation (DX) was already a hot topic in boardrooms before the pandemic hit in 2020, with IDC predicting that it would account for more than 50% of all IT spending by 2023.  What many IT executives learned last year, however, is that the gaps to fill in order to evolve were greater than expected, and those who had previously prioritized DX were able to adapt more quickly to evolving market conditions. As a result, our own primary research is indicating that organizations are prioritizing a kick-off of new DX initiatives now, and that many others are accelerating investments they had already planned for 2022 and beyond, so they can help their enterprise run and transform at the same time as soon as possible.  Specific areas of investment are expected to be in security and the better use of AI/machine learning – as cyber resilience and deriving insights from data have been elevated to critical path for organizations expecting to compete in the new economy.

    • Joe Garber, Vice President of Strategy, Micro Focus

    Business Resilience Matters More

    The COVID economy was a challenge to overcome for virtually every sector, and the software vertical was no exception. In the last 12 months, countless technology vendors either went out of business or materially altered their R&D promises because they were not financially stable enough to withstand the macro shifts in the market. This left organizations in a lurch, as they not only had to overcome their own internal challenges as they adapted, but also those presented by their technology vendors who changed the playing field on their customers midstream.  The time, cost, and risk implications of these actions are not likely to be forgotten anytime soon.  Vendors that have demonstrated a sound business resilience strategy and have strong cash flows and a solid balance sheet are likely to gain in popularity in 2021 – seizing the limelight, due to a smaller risk profile, from start-ups that have been in vogue over for the past few decades.

    • Joe Garber, Vice President of Strategy, Micro Focus

    Annual Maintenance Contract (AMC)

    The dream of DX needs to wake up now

    Few organizations can ignore the digital aspirations they already have, but no-one can ignore the profound market upheaval of 2020. Entire industries have risen or fallen as a result of the pandemic. It’s not enough to have a plan, it’s no longer sufficient to divert resources towards a digital objective – the pandemic represents a stark wake-up call for the imperative nature of DX. The time is now. The question remains – all too often – but how. 2021 will see greater concentration and focus on resources that follow proven, predictable means of change, across different platforms, different practices, across different application sets. Teams that can leverage trusted, valued assets, put themselves at a competitive advantage of delivering at all, and delivering faster. It needs to work well, and it needs to work fast. 2021 is when strategic modernization becomes the byword for smart DX.

    • Derek Britton, Director of Product Marketing, Application Modernization & Connectivity, Micro Focus

    COBOL moves to the cloud

    In 2020 the last barriers for a significant move of legacy applications to the cloud was removed and 2021 will mark the year where a significant amount of MIPS are moved to run in public cloud. This is driven for the need to bring the cost down on running private mainframe data centers and at the same time create more flexibility in scaling. Further as legacy applications is often part of complex hybrid solutions where the newer application already reside in the cloud, so moving the legacy apps as well makes extra sense.

    Lars Rossen, Ph.D. MBA, Fellow and Chief Architect, Micro Focus

    Mainframe security will be more important than ever before.

    Securing the mainframe will be more important in 2021, than ever before. With the increase in breaches, the continued use of the mainframe for business-critical applications and data, and the ever-evolving regulatory requirements, organizations must ensure that their mainframe stays secure. Most organizations have the security controls in place, however where they struggle is utilizing those same security measures on the mainframe. Extending enterprise-level security (including access control (with multi-factor authentication), data privacy, and endpoint hardening) to the mainframe will be a key initiative for many organizations in 2021.”

    – Que Mangus, Product Marketing Manager for Application Modernization and Connectivity at Micro Focus

    Que Mangus, Host Access & Connectivity, Micro Focus

    Acceleration to more zero-touch customer interactions (ASIA)

    We are stepping into 2021 with a fresh challenge: delivering first-class digital service with a spotlight on zero-touch customer experience—powered by DevSecOps. Businesses are rapidly enhancing their digital capabilities to replace face-to-face customer interactions and gearing up to achieve the best of both worlds—creating an optimal user interface while building lasting digital trust. DevSecOps lies at the heart of these new digital offerings, bringing security into agile software development enhanced with AI technology to build consumer confidence and satisfaction. Organizations will see increasing automation of AI-based testing and application vulnerability detection within the development lifecycle to unlock the door to a successful omnichannel brand experience, with the ability to scale and adapt to the ever-changing customer preferences–one that stands out from the competition.

    • Stephen McNulty, President, Asia Pacific, Micro Focus

    Serverless is moving from hype to painful reality

    There will be uptake in the use of serverless computing models. Today, it is a niche model, but for certain types of workloads it is common sense that we will see it start to sneak into more and more solutions. However, as a consequence, organizations will realize that the complex interactions between the serverless environments (which, incidentally, do rely on servers) and the rest of the application and infrastructure landscape creates an operational nightmare in terms of delivering stability and predictable performance.

    • Lars Rossen, Ph.D. MBA, Fellow and Chief Architect, Micro Focus

    International Security

    Security risks from WFA (Work from Anywhere) (ASIA)

    In the face of security risks from an increasingly remote workforce, organizations will increase investment into access security, analytics, and automation to protect sensitive information. Failing to cover end devices with rigorous security policies has proven to be costly and many organizations have paid the price for that this year. As the attack surface continues to expand in 2021, we can expect more organizations to keep a tighter rein on intra- and inter-organizational data flow, with defense measures encompassing context-based access controls, geofencing of employee remote work location, and encryption. Security analytics and automation will become mainstream to help organizations detect anomalies in user behavior and deploy quick remediation to block malicious activities.

    • Stephen McNulty, President, Asia Pacific at Micro Focus


    The Mantra of Resilience

    Resiliency will become the next mantra of security and risk management teams – being resilient when experiencing crisis situations and continuing to function even with reduced capacity, all while containing the situation, will be the new normal. ‘Assume breach’ has been the mantra of CISOs for a number of years, however, with the advancements in automation, machine learning and analytics, the ability to quickly detect, respond and recover from breaches will enable businesses to continue operating while under breach conditions.

    • Neil Correa, Cyber Strategist, Micro Focus

    Security in IoT Takes Center Stage

    Reliance on IoT devices will expand exponentially, however, security has not been at the forefront of the IoT world. Moving forward, IoT original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and IoT security vendors will continue address this current gap. Unfortunately, legacy IoT devices will continue to be breached. However, as IoT security vendors work with IoT OEMs to deploy secure IoT devices from pre-production through to production, managed IoT security players will increase their presence in the marketplace and may even provide the ability to secure legacy devices until replacement.

    • Kate Scarella, Cyber Strategist, Micro Focus

    Hyper Connectivity in remote workforce creates security gaps

    Hyper connectivity – There are several gaps currently between the in-office workforce model and remote workforce model that was forced upon all of us. Enterprises are trying to make remote working as close to in-office working as possible and a using this opportunity to improve efficiency.

    1. Performance and Security testing of Applications (Mobile) that are now out-ward facing.
    2. Erosion of VPN and the use of Identity to provide a secure channel to access corporate systems.
    3. Secure collaboration to maintain confidentiality of information and ensure compliance to privacy mandates etc.
    4. Access from any device at any time at scale.
    • Niel Pandya, Enterprise Security Lead, Micro Focus


    Gaps in Security Exposed

    Digital transformation timelines were significantly sped up due to the COVID-19 pandemic with security left behind, opening the door for hackers to access these vulnerable networks. Organizations have been focused on sustaining business operations and oftenecurity controls were either bypassed or not factored in during the rush of transforming to the new model. With the continued volatility and uncertainty, security controls are still not a priority and may not be addressed until a breach were to occur.

    • Neil Correa, Cyber Strategist, Micro Focus

    Predictive Analytics

    The Data Lake becomes an Ocean

    Many solutions now come with a built-in data lake and associated analytic capability. Think, AIOps, SecOps, IDM, ESM, … systems. However, connecting the lakes has become increasingly important. We will see pressure on connecting the Data Lakes to automate and optimize organizations. The AIOps data lake needs to be correlated with the SecOps data lake to find an advanced instruction pattern. The Identity management data lake should be correlated with the enterprise service management data lake to identify misuse or governance issues. In 2021, we will see an increasing amount of companies trying to implement a true 360 degree insight model for their enterprise, but we will also see that many of the traditional approaches to this will fall short.

    • Lars Rossen, Ph.D. MBA, Fellow and Chief Architect, Micro Focus
    ELE Times Bureau
    ELE Times Bureau
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