It’s hard to believe we’re preparing to close out 2021, but that’s the reality. Along with perhaps setting personal goals, you’re also likely setting business goals. For IT teams and professionals, there’s a lot to think about.
Some of the general trends affecting IT admins and their teams include accelerated digital transformation, continuity dependence stemming from IT, and the increasing importance of flexible, scalable infrastructures.
Below are some of the priorities and objectives IT professionals and businesses as a whole should be looking toward in 2022.
One of the things that IT admins and security professionals are working on getting buy-in for as far as strategic initiatives is a move to Zero Trust security architecture.
Zero Trust takes the conventional concept of cybersecurity and changes it completely. We know that because of the commonality of remote work that looks like it’s here to stay after the pandemic, Zero Trust is really the only viable security methodology moving forward.
The Zero Trust model recognizes trust itself as a cybersecurity vulnerability. Verification is critical. Zero Trust protects the modern digital environment by using network segmentation to prevent lateral movement if there is a breach.
Along with moving to Zero Trust, cybersecurity, in general, is a key strategic priority. Attacks are becoming more sophisticated and common. They’re also getting more expensive to deal with.
It’s not just about using new technologies to promote cybersecurity. The fundamentals need to be put in place as well.
In April 2020, according to the CIO COVID-19 Impact Study, more than two-thirds of IT leaders said they needed to modernize or upgrade collaboration technology. That seems to be something that’s worked itself out in many ways, and most IT leaders have made an adjustment to performing their duties remotely and also managing remote teams. However, securing the remote work environment remains a concern.
Dealing with Staffing Shortages
We’re constantly hearing about people leaving the workforce. Mid-career people are increasingly leaving their jobs since the pandemic. That’s a massive issue in IT, where even before the workplace departure, there was a significant skills shortage.
Many IT teams right now may be thinking about how they can build their pipeline internally and get current staff ready to take on new challenges. There’s also a need to identify emerging leaders early on.
In those situations where you aren’t able to grow your own talent or meet all of your needs, managed services may become an option. Managed services do allow you to access skills, expertise, and coverage that you can’t get by hiring alone.
Other alternatives to bringing on traditional, full-time employees are the use of gig workers and freelancers.
A growing amount of IT budget could go to talent development.
All Eyes on Automation
One reason IT leaders will be increasingly looking at automation is because of what’s mentioned above—staffing shortages.
Rather than thinking about individual automated steps in a process, a lot of IT leadership reports that they’re focusing on something called business process management (BPM) or workflow automation. According to recent research, BPM is on the radar for 25% of IT leadership currently and is in the pilot phase for 21%.
The pandemic created lessons in how to deal with remote operations, and what happened during that time will drive spending and strategies going forward. There has been a considerable increase in cloud end-user spending since 2020. By 2024, Gartner predicts the cloud will make up more than 14% of total global enterprise IT spending.
In 2020, it made up just over 9%.
The largest increases recently are in application infrastructure services.
Workloads that were at one point not seen as being eligible to move to the cloud because of issues like security and governance were moved to the public cloud during the early days of the pandemic.
A lot of organizations have seen this shift drive positive results, and it’s unlikely the workloads that migrated will go back to operational models seen before the pandemic.
Some organizations may still have concerns about cloud adoption and potential security breaches in the public cloud. Experts say, however that fear isn’t based on reality. More than 90% of the breaches that recently occurred in the public cloud aren’t due to the provider’s inability to deliver adequate security controls. The cause was typically user error happening internally.
While we touched on these above, the following are some of the IT budget priorities most likely to be relevant in 2022.
- Cloud adoption: There’s a major acceleration when it comes to the focus on cloud-based adoption. There’s also a growing focus on migration from legacy environments to hybrid cloud environments for seamless scaling. There’s also a focus on the enhancement of end-user experience through the reduction of the traffic path between remote workers and the application.
- Security: As we touched on quite a few times, security spending and allocation of resources will be a strategic focus in the coming year. At the beginning of the pandemic, many organizations didn’t have the architecture, licenses, or infrastructure in place to deal with remote employees. Now they do and they’re thinking more about their security posture and looking at areas they might not have been able to focus on as much as was needed in the early pandemic.
- Recovery: IT teams may be evaluating or re-evaluating their backup and recovery methodology. Organizations need a backup and recovery plan and need to plan for overall resilience.
- Distributed work: Along with setting up a framework to support distributed work overall, IT teams will have to reconsider collaboration strategies.
There’s a lot to think about for IT teams going into a new year. There are some great opportunities to create a stronger long-term infrastructure, but also plenty of challenges and headwinds. IT teams are likely to see that they’re becoming more relevant in overall strategic planning as their roles increase significantly.
IT admins and teams should be prepared to shoulder more responsibilities and take on greater challenges as they forge ahead.