Working from home has become a new standard – and in many cases a necessity in keeping your business up and running. This puts a lot of pressure on organizations and their access to data. For that reason, 2020 brought a surge of investments into new Cloud related projects and that trend appears to be continuing in 2021. Forrester Research estimates that the public Cloud infrastructure market will rise by 35% in 2021 to a staggering $120 billion worldwide.
We don’t know what the rest of the year holds in store, but we can clearly see tendencies towards what rests on decision makers’ minds:
Due to the rapid change in how we have embraced working from home, the need for a flexible, secure and fast remote work platform has risen. Virtual Cloud Desktop is basically where the entire environment of your workstation is delivered as a managed cloud service to your laptop or desktop screen where we work. This means that organizations can take advantage of by-the-hour subscriptions for the time their employees spend working at their machines, eliminating the cost of hardware updates and the need to dispose of redundant technology.
Sometimes known as desktop-as-a-service, this model is offered by Amazon via the Workspaces platform and Microsoft with Windows Virtual Desktop. In practice, this can increase efficiency across a workforce by ensuring everyone is using up-to-date, synchronized technology. It also benefits security and compliance as all devices can be managed centrally in the cloud, rather than having to make sure everyone on the network is following best practice manually (more on that later). When people join or leave a company, the cost simply scales as the number of hours spent using the platform increases or decreases. This flexible functionality means virtual desktop services is an increasingly sought after technology these days.
As so often is the case of security, it both follows and precedes nearly every kind of IT development. Such is the case with the shift to virtual services, as the enterprise digital perimeter expands, the role of security becomes increasingly prominent.
Instead of maintaining a firewall around a tight physical space, the challenge for security professionals in 2021 is to begin at the endpoint — wherever and whatever it is — and work backward toward the center. The work-from-home shift has put an emphasis on how security standards for residential equipment and networks is far different than for commercial settings — which cyber criminals already are aware of.
Since Covid-19, there has been an increase in phishing attacks. Healthcare in particular is under stress as criminals focus on the increase in both caseloads and WFH. Insurance claims and patient records can be more lucrative on the black market than social security numbers, making endpoint security of paramount importance to all security departments.
Securing cloud-based work from home employees in the coming year will likely take one of two paths, depending on organizational size. For larger companies, moving to a zero-trust security model resembling SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) architecture will be the most likely outcome due to its efficiency. For those that cannot muster such a change, existing solutions such as DNS security will be instituted at an accelerated rate. Either way, employee security training (e.g. phishing attack awareness and ensuring compliance with company security protocols) will be mandatory.
The major Cloud providers have traditionally had a closed approach to their service offerings, marketing them as an all-in-one solution to fit all demands. In practice, however, industry is increasingly turning to hybrid or multi-cloud environments, with requirements for increased flexibility to infrastructure across multiple models.
There are growing demands for the big providers to create bridges between their platforms. This runs contrary to their traditional business models, which are reliant on an ability to upsell greater cloud capacity as well as additional services as their customers scale. Adopting an increasingly collaborative approach doesn't just enable customers to take greater advantage of the fast-growing multi-cloud trend, though. It will also benefit organizations needing to share data and access with partners in, for instance, their supply chain, which may all be working across diverse applications and data standards. This is a space where we are likely to see growing levels of innovation from startups, creating services that simplify the process of operating between different public cloud platforms.
Embracing the increasing need for interconnectivity between cloud services, Oracle cloud [OCI] and Microsoft Azure have launched “Interconnect” – their first steps towards an increasingly hybrid cloud world. If you are curious to learn more about “Interconnect” read here.