When I think back to some of the predictions I made back in 2019 about the future of business and technology for 2020, enough time has passed that I laugh. However, over the last two years, the pandemic has accelerated digital transformation in ways we still are attempting to grasp.
The shift of entire businesses to remote work, the strains on the supply chain across multiple industries, and the employment challenges that businesses face continue to plague organizations going into the New Year.
But even with all the uncertainty, I feel more confident than ever in the predictions I’m making for technology and business based on the lessons we’ve learned as a company and while serving our clients in the agriculture and fresh produce space. Here they are:
Prediction #1: Cyber insurance policies will drive change in your business.
All of us became experts in supply and demand in the last year – and these lessons spilled over beyond simply the good we wanted to buy (toilet paper, anyone?). The increase of cyberattacks meant a greater need for cyber insurance, but with more incidents occurring, insurance requirements became more stringent. Given this, more and more businesses will need to ensure proper security protections are in place to secure an insurance policy going into 2022.
Policyholders will be on the hook to meet more of these stringent requirements and need to be able to prove protections were in place before they receive a payout after a breach, which will drive investments and process change across your business. The trend will be around adopting more defined, demonstrable standards.
Prediction #2: Proactive businesses will implement Security Operations Centers (SOCs).
Adding additional layers of protection against cyberattacks is the name of the game going into 2022, and part of this action plan for proactive businesses will include implementing SOCs. And SOC provides real-time, anomaly-based vs. rule-based, and artificial intelligence/machine learning detection coupled with human oversight.
Most businesses can’t afford to spin up an in-house SOC and choose to outsource to a provider, such as Arctic Wolf. Layering an SOC on top of your relationship with a managed services provider (MSP) like ZAG provides high levels of oversight around technology implementation, maintenance, and management, plus the addition of 24/7/365 cybersecurity detection.
Prediction #3: Cybercrime will not slow and is now a material cost of business.
From 2019 to 2020, there was a spike of more than 300,000 complaints to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) and reported losses of more than $4.2 billion. And in 2021, that number only grew. The sobering reality is that as cybercrime increases, the more likely your business is to fall victim to it.
We often say, “It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.” Preparing your business means not only boosting security protocols but also developing a plan for when a cyberattack occurs – think incident response and business continuity planning. And the U.S. Government is taking notice and will likely begin intervening if attacks continue to spin out of control. This means that more time and resources will need to be allocated to address cybercrime in the coming year, and your business should be planning accordingly for it.
Prediction #4: Work becomes more virtual and hybrid remote.
Back in 2020, ZAG shifted to a remote workforce given the COVID restrictions in place across the state. But later that year, we leaned into the idea that we could be successful as a hybrid remote workplace and expand our reach across the country. And our experience isn’t unique. Many organizations have started to recognize that they can be more productive, collaborative and ultimately profitable by continuing remote work policies as part of a workplace revolution.
Knowledge workers now have the tools to work from anywhere, anytime. Throughout the last two years, we’ve worked with clients transitioning to the same kind of structure, ensuring the right levels of security for remote workers, and equipping those workers with the technology they needed to deliver results. The future of work is more remote and hybrid remote and the sooner that organizations realize the benefits of this, the better.
Prediction #5: Repetitive knowledge worker tasks will become more automated.
I mentioned labor shortages that plagued businesses around the globe this past year, so finding ways to increase productivity and reduce menial tasks on knowledge workers is more important than ever.
Enter: Robotic Process Automation (RPA).
Increasing workflow automation and removing menial tasks from worker routines through RPA is allowing businesses to reduce headcount and training expenses while releasing workers to focus more on improved productivity and creativity. The outcome? Technology that drives competitive advantage.
It’s tough to make predictions about the world when it comes to our day-to-day lives going into year three of the pandemic, but business processes and technology predictions are clear going into 2022. Finding ways to improve efficiencies, address cybersecurity threats, and streamline processes will set your organization apart.
What are your predictions? Share them with us on our LinkedIn page.