Business Technology 2021: Year in Review
2021 was another year of adaptation for many businesses who are still seeking solutions to challenges created by 2020 and the pandemic.
Here are a few of the top business technology trends of 2021, how they’re changing the way people do business, and what you can expect from them in the near future.
Businesses opened up a lot of opportunities in 2021 by moving more of their operations into the cloud, allowing their teams to collaborate remotely and to work from any device.
Though much of the push towards remote work was precipitated by the onset of the pandemic, there have been indications for a number of years that businesses have been heading further down the road to offering employees remote work opportunities.
The widespread adoption of remote working conditions has meant cloud adoption has increased significantly over 2021.
Shifting to the Cloud
One major cloud services trend of 2021 was companies shifting their stored data from on-site servers to remote cloud storage data centers. This brings many benefits to businesses, including:
- Cost Savings: Cloud storage is very budget friendly because it’s easily scalable and it minimizes the need for the necessary maintenance and monitoring that comes with on-site server storage.
- Heightened Security: Moving data into a data storage center means taking advantage of the provider’s cybersecurity practices and standards, which vary depending on that facility’s tier. Typically, these places have much higher levels of security than an on-site, business-owned server—most employ cybersecurity teams to oversee them.
- Increased Accessibility and Collaboration: With the cloud, you can securely access vital company information from anywhere with any device, allowing teams from across the world to collaborate and share data.
- Risk Reduction: With secure data centers and data backups, your company’s information is safe and replaceable in the event of an outage or cyberattack.
- Higher Efficiency: Migrating to the cloud allows you to focus solely on the key aspects of your business without having to spend valuable time thinking about software upgrades, security, space considerations, hardware, and updates.
Cloud-Based Productivity Suites
Another aspect of cloud usage that’s trending upward is using cloud-based productivity suites that provide an array of helpful tools to help teams collaborate and communicate effectively.
Microsoft 365 and the G Suite by Google are examples of the most popular cloud-based productivity suites, both of which provide crucial apps like email, documents, storage, calendars, planners, instant messaging, power points, spreadsheets; all of which can be accessed remotely from any device.
Looking Ahead: What to Expect from Cloud Services in 2022
Cloud services in the future will most likely continue to build off what we’re seeing today: more accessibility and easier access to more data for people to work wherever, whenever, and with whatever devices they have, creating a more flexible workforce.
Cybersecurity Awareness, Training, and Best Practices
Cybersecurity is an ever-changing industry due to the evolving practices of cyber criminals who are always looking for new strategies to crack a business’ network.
One of the major ways that cybersecurity continues to grow is in awareness as more and more businesses understand its necessity in educating employees who face threats every day—spam emails being the most significant and voluminous.
The cybersecurity market is expected to hit $350 billion by 2026, doubling its value in 2020. This was spurred on by the pandemic which accelerated remote work trends and put a spotlight on the need for businesses to protect their data, devices, and networks.
Creating Secure Passwords
One of the ways businesses have begun ramping up security is in the way they operate access controls.
Gone are the days of being able to secure an account with a simple, short password that you use for every single account you have.
Now, businesses use a mixture of multiple options from passphrases to additional multi-factor authenticators, including:
- Passphrases: A common alternative to passwords, passphrases are, essentially, longer passwords that typically contain entire sentences or phrases rather than just one word. Passphrases are a better option than a standard password, but still aren’t always secure enough to trust alone.
- Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Using applications like Microsoft Authenticator, LastPass, or Google Authenticator gives businesses an added layer of security that requires an additional login or access to specific devices. MFA can also be done via email, text message, or phone call.
- Password Managers: One of the struggles of strong passwords that contain letters, numbers, symbols, etc., is that people still need to be able to remember and use them without having to write them down. Password managers allow entire businesses to have very strong passwords by providing a secure way to access them.
- Biometrics: Many devices now come equipped with the ability to perform biometric logins using fingerprints or face scanning. But, this is not widespread yet and many older devices and computers won’t support it.
Using these methods are a crucial component of information security in 2021, and will become even more important in 2022 as compliance regulations tighten and cyberattacks continue to rise in volatility.
Looking Ahead: What to Expect from Cybersecurity in 2022
Cybersecurity is only becoming more important from here on out as more people work remotely and more businesses rely on technology to stay competitive.
In 2022 and beyond, you’re sure to see more improvements to passwords—potentially with password-less logins and physical tokens—along with an emphasis on personnel training and the involvement of more AI technology in detecting behavioral patterns among end users.
In order to stay on the cutting edge of business technology, it’s important for businesses to remain flexible and open minded so that, when the time comes, it’s easy to adapt and implement modern strategies as they arrive, rather than trying to play catch up as your competitors get further ahead.
To learn more, watch our webinar on December 9th at 11am PST where our experts will discuss these trends in business technology and what they mean to SMBs in the coming years.