2022: Clarity will emerge from a period of uncertainty

16 Dec 2021

2022: Clarity will emerge from a period of uncertainty

As with every year, I would like to take a moment to reflect not only on what has been, but also what I think we will be navigating as we enter the new year. all done enough reflecting in our own ways, both personally and professionally, so it’s exciting to look forward to what 2022 may bring in our industry.

‘The Great Resignation’ has created a consistent movement of people both out of and into organisations globally. Leavers in particular create challenges for data security as we continue to work in a decentralised satellite office structure where data is being accessed outside of a traditional framework. The temptation of a customer list or data that can kick start a leavers new role can be too much for some to resist, and this should remain at the forefront of our data security strategies and initiatives for 2022. Equally, new starters can be targets for malicious outside actors who are aware that new employees might not be up to speed on your organisations security protocols from day one. Investing in a business IT partner who can provide a platform that uses machine learning and AI capabilities to look for and notify of any anomalies in your network really is budget well spent: people logging on at unusual times or trying to access files they don’t normally access is a very simple way to ensure your company data is kept secure at user level. So we have a focus on Insider Threats but also ensuring we protect our staff with the work life balance tracking we all have access to.

We also aren’t seeing a huge shift back to full time office working, so cloud capability continues to be at the forefront of technology development alongside geographic security tracking, behavioural analysis and of course containerisation. As a reflection of this, at RFA we expect continued growth and development of our cloud capability to manage the continuous adoption of cutting-edge technologies like big data analytics and AI to keep up with the digitisation of the alternative investment market as well as core usage and configuration of all the wonderful tools and features out there like our CRM automation tools, Deal automation, data rooms etc all within 365, Azure and AWS. As we see an increased focus on data strategy, networks will require more bandwidth as individual firms start to adopt a scientific approach to their data, allowing them to enhance their research, reporting capabilities and ultimately their results. RFA have been at the forefront of cloud adoption since as early as 2014 and I am looking forward to working with our clients and prospects to help them develop cloud solutions that support them taking their data capabilities to the next level.  While software as a service (SaaS) will continue to grow I expect to see application infrastructure services, or platform as a service (PaaS) grow exponentially. The growth in PaaS will be driven by our remote workforces continued need to access to high-performing and scalable infrastructure via cloud-native applications, in line with the satellite office working trend that I don’t see declining. In the same vein, hybrid working tools will emerge and develop. I don’t quite mean Zuckerberg’s metaverse here – I don’t envisage my team meeting in a 3D virtual environment quite yet – but I do see that we will build on how to extend security measures like the zero trust model and containerised data. However, AR, or augmented reality, is very much on its way and personal, wearable tech is becoming available in a more cost efficient way all the time.

We will of course see this continued focus on cyber security. Ransomware attacks are still on the increase and as fast as we develop more secure solutions, the hackers are enhancing their own system capabilities too. The focus here will be on how we develop Disaster Recovery-as-a-service, which I see as a major theme for the coming year. It isn’t just about cyber-attack of course. As we are aware, natural disaster can strike when we least expect it and then there are technical failures to consider too like equipment malfunction and infrastructure interruption. With a distributed workforce, it is imperative we refresh our view on disaster recovery and business continuity to support our current working environments. Let’s focus and thinking about BCP, Phishing, Ransomware and incident response – the last item is key.

Of course, for all this technology to work, we must understand it and trust it. This has become increasingly difficult through 2021 as we have moved away from the office environment where we could see how our tech was both connected and protected. I think this is particularly relevant with AI; our impression of AI can be that it is obtrusive and sometimes damaging. There have been news stories about corporate giants misusing AI to collect data from individuals that have led to a negative view of what is genuinely a useful, intelligent and advanced addition to our technology suite. AI and machine learning tools have a part in just about every workday task we now carry out and this is only going to continue to expand. 2022 will see a wider conversation around AI, how and if to regulate the technology, and what benefits that might bring.

Finally, I want to mention people. Without doubt, we have all had for our own reasons an unsettled period of a couple of years. I truly believe that culturally, as businesses, we will start to come together once again and bring back the vitality, drive and purpose that has been so difficult to achieve in a fully remote environment. One of the many good things about this is that people, just like technology, innovate and create. When we marry people and technology, we can unlock the creativity and drive for a successful 2022. I am personally so pleased to see the very welcome narrative around diversity and inclusion in the technology sector getting louder and gaining pace every day. Our talent pool continues to expand and that’s so positive and I know will lead to great things in the coming 12 months.

I wish you all a happy holiday and a peaceful new year.

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