Annual outlook: What IT managers can expect in 2021

IT Jahresrueckblick 2020

Which topics will be most important for IT managers and decision-makers in 2021? In our annual outlook, we identify trends that you should consider in your annual planning for 2021.

Location-independent working

In 2020, employees and employers will have had many experiences with the home office work model – some for the first time, others already used to it. There are many experiences and opinions about it. What is clear, however: Working from home will continue to accompany companies in 2021 and will remain an important topic even after the Corona pandemic. A study conducted by Bitkom Research in November 2020 and many others prove that the home office – if set up correctly – offers many advantages and can be a real competitive advantage for companies. In the future, for example, employees will want to work from home occasionally, even outside of crisis situations. Or in a different environment: Because smooth access to company data should be possible not only within the four walls at home, but also on the train, in a café or at a customer’s site.

 

Over the next few years, IT managers will be increasingly confronted with the challenge of realizing this. They will be expected to be able to provide user support and administration remotely and to ensure smooth connections and access. Solutions such as NetMotion, Zoom or EBF Files are therefore relevant for many companies.

IT security

With the increasing importance of the mobile workplace, the topic of IT security will once again remain a key issue in 2021. This is because cyber attacks on companies and their sensitive data, as well as the methods of attack, are continuously increasing. With an increase of 15%, the number of cyber attacks already grew to around 100,000 in 2019, according to the Bundeskriminalamt (BKA) – a new high. And the developments in 2020, for which there are no official figures from the BKA yet, also allow a realistic forecast of what we can expect in this and the next few years: For example, according to a study by the IT security company Tanium, 90% of the companies surveyed said that the Corona-related move to the home office had triggered an increase in attacks, as home office workstations in many companies were initially not nearly as secure as those in the office.

For this reason, companies should continue to invest in mobile workplace security in 2021 that is proportional to the threat situation. In the coming years, employees will increasingly work outside the corporate networks. There, corporate data should be protected in the same way. VPNs and mobile threat defense solutions can help here. And raising employee awareness is also more important than ever. Users should learn to recognize and assess dangers when working on the move.

User-friendly authentication

Increased security in the mobile workplace is not enough. In everyday life, users work with a variety of accounts and programs. If they want to access them from external networks, they are often asked to enter complex passwords or multi-level logon procedures. Such authentication methods cost employees time and nerves and reduce their productivity and satisfaction.

An important goal for companies in 2021 should therefore be to reconcile the protection of sensitive data with user-friendly work steps when working on the move. Through modern technologies, it is now possible to make the digital workplace both secure and user-friendly. By assigning guidelines, it can be achieved that the authentication method is automatically adapted to the respective situation. If certain criteria apply, a login can even take place without a password – and the employee can continue to work seamlessly. In situations that are considered insecure, on the other hand, multiple authentication steps become necessary. Conditional access and Zero-Sign-On are important keywords here.

Propper device management

In 2021, companies will usually find very heterogeneous device and system landscapes – with numerous device types and operating systems: from iOS and Android to Windows 10 and macOS, including company-owned devices as well as BYOD-devices. To manage all of these devices, including applications and content, many enterprises today already use a unified endpoint management system such as Microsoft Intune, MobileIron, Jamf or VMware Workspace ONE. UEM systems will continue to be an important tool for enterprises to solve existing and new challenges in 2021. However, systems are constantly evolving – and new alternatives are emerging. Google, for example, has announced it will offer its own limited-functionality solution for managing Android devices in small and midsize businesses in the first half of the year. And systems such as Microsoft Intune have also developed strongly in recent months and are currently being considered more and more as a possible alternative.

IT managers are therefore regularly faced with the task of evaluating whether the solutions they are using are still the right ones, whether they are being used correctly or whether, if necessary, a switch to another system is an option. 

Do you need help with the implementation of these topics in your company? We will be happy to advise you and provide you with our expertise.

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