Northdoor looks ahead: What are the top trends to prepare for in 2021?
To give you the inside track on what to look out for in the year ahead, we asked seven Northdoor experts to share their top trends for 2021.
DataOps and InfoSec take off
We begin with James Cherry, CTO at Northdoor, who sees big changes coming in DataOps and InfoSec in 2021. James believes that the increasing maturity of DataOps solutions will drive a sharp increase in adoption across all industries. Just as the DevOps revolution enabled businesses to bring high-quality digital solutions to market faster than ever before, DataOps will help put accurate, timely data into the right hands at speed and scale.
The increased political uncertainly and economic instability triggered by Brexit and exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis could also expose businesses to greater InfoSec risks. While many businesses are diverting their attention – and resources – elsewhere, cyber criminals are continually developing more sophisticated capabilities. The recent theft of FireEye Red Team tools should be a cause for significant concern, and businesses should renew their commitment to security to counteract evolving threats. Meanwhile, machine learning and AI will become more prominent in InfoSec, with solutions like IBM Cloud Pak for Data automatically creating profiles of standard user behaviour, then generating alerts when something out-of-the-ordinary is spotted.
Optimising for remote working
Tom Richards, Lead -Systems and Storage at Northdoor, sees an ongoing need to optimise IT infrastructure for remote working. While national vaccination programs slowly get underway, increasing numbers of employees will continue to log in from home. As a result, many businesses will target more effective ways of managing their environments: moving away from traditional approaches where deployments are controlled manually by on-premises IT teams, and instead embracing automated, self-service capabilities.
Some business will look to bring the advantages of cloud-like procurement and billing to their on-premises storage platforms—for example, enabled by the IBM Storage Utility Offering.
Boosting competitiveness with analytics
As the economic pressures of 2020, Richard Hartill, Business Partner Liaison/Client Manager at Northdoor, believes that enterprises will double down on their analytics capabilities to remain agile and competitive.
While digital transformation is becoming a growing trend across all industries, many businesses still have insights trapped in siloed locations across their IT environments.
By harnessing the latest analytics technologies – delivered rapidly and securely via the cloud – enterprises will be in a stronger position to compete in the uncertain economy of 2021. These technologies include, but are not limited to Azure SQL Managed Instance, Azure Data Factory, Azure Data Bricks, Azure Synapse Analytics and Power BI.
Getting ahead of industry disruption
Richard Jefferies, Client Manager – Insurance at Northdoor, predicts that some of these analytics trends will be sector-specific. In the same way that FinTech companies are harnessing data to disrupt traditional banking and financial services markets, nimble InsurTech businesses are now making similar plays for valuable slices of the insurance market.
In 2021, advanced analytics capabilities – combined with other innovative technologies such as AI, blockchain and robotic process automation – have the potential to cut out paper-based processes, improve fraud detection, shape improved customer experiences and nurture long-term loyalty. To get ahead of the coming wave of disruption, forward-looking insurers will look for opportunities to build new data-driven products and partner ecosystems.
At the same time, all businesses in the industry will need to stay vigilant around their requirements under the GDPR, prepare for the potential impacts of Brexit, and get their businesses ready for the incoming arrival of International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) 17 in 2023.
Reassessing your cloud landscapes
Dominic Green, Practice Leader – Cloud Computing at Northdoor, cautions businesses to carefully investigate the potential impacts on their cloud strategies.
In particular, enterprises that have embraced multi-region cloud capabilities will need to take extra care to ensure they understand the potential legal, regulatory and compliance impacts of data sovereignty. For example, some data currently held in European data centres may need to move to the UK – and advance preparation can help to reduce the cost and risk of the process significantly.
Defending against cyber-crime and third-party risk
As remote working enlarges the corporate network, AJ Thompson, Chief Commercial Officer at Northdoor, sees cyber crime as the single biggest issue facing the IT world. When major firms like Travelex can be effectively wiped out by a single hack, all companies need to understand and defend against the risk of data breaches, phishing, and ransomware.
And in a highly interconnected business world, the risk goes far beyond even the extended corporate network. Most businesses share data and connect systems with supply chain partners, creating a complex web of potential exposure across third parties, and their partners in turn. To protect against data loss and to avoid the financial penalties and reputational impact of GDPR breaches, organisations should consider cybersecurity intelligence services such as RiskXchange.