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Business 2021: AI’s expanding role in cloud security (Includes interview)

As businesses regroup, security issues remain at the forefront. For example, Gartner finds that global spending on information security and risk management technology and services is growing but this is at a much lower rate than previously forecast. A further issue of concern, is with a global shortage of cybersecurity skills in the workplace, which arguably makes organisations more desirable targets for hacking. At the same time, the expansion in remote working could open up an new pool of talent in cybersecurity for businesses to maximize.

To gain an insight into the many technological trends facing businesses as they seek to recover from the pandemic of 2020, Digital Journal caught up with Keith Neilson, who is a Technical Evangelist for at the cloud platform company CloudSphere. Together with the technological challenges, Neilson explains that a rise in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) is expected, which will cause a considerable level of disruption in the business world.

Digital Journal: Will AI gain momentum in cloud security and governance?

Keith Neilson: In 2021, artificial intelligence will go far beyond simply detecting anomalies and flagging potential threats to security teams. Cloud governance has become an increasingly complex task. This means artificial intelligence will be necessary to maintain cloud hygiene by streamlining workflows, managing changes and archiving.

Through predicting threats and vulnerabilities, AI will help enterprises create a more robust outcome for cloud environments.

DJ: Will multi-cloud adoption continue to accelerate?

Neilson: Businesses anticipate workloads executed in cloud-based external environments to increase from 36 percent (2020) to 63 percent (by2022). Once enterprises understand the different types of applications that run better and in which cloud, the need for adopting more than one cloud provider will begin to take shape. This means the trend toward multi-cloud adoption (using more than two cloud service providers) will accelerate in 2021.

DJ: What will be the top IT challenge facing enterprises?

Neilson: As digital transformation accelerates, the complex state of cloud infrastructure makes it relatively easy for mistakes to me made. In addition, the lack of visibility into the cloud makes these mistakes difficult to redress. Consequently, identity and access management for individual and machine users will be a top challenge in 2021.

DJ: What will be the impact if there is a surge in merger and acquisition deals?

Neilson: Most merger and acquisition (M&A) deals were put on hold amidst the economic and political uncertainty of 2020. M&A activity within the U.S. is expected to return to pre-coronavirus levels

We have witnessed companies suffer data breaches as a result of poor infrastructure documentation following an merger and acquisition deal. These incidents put the issue of information technology security to the forefront of such deals.

DJ: With diminished IT budgets, how will enterprises respond?

Neilson: The 2020 security spending forecast shows spending going down. This means companies might be unable to expand their team or adopt new technology. To address with the budgetary pressures and supporting a secure and productive remote workforce, organizations will need to rely upon managed service providers for guidance on how to govern and secure their information technology operations.

DJ: What is meant by democratized security?

Neilson: A talent gap has existed in cybersecurity for years, making it difficult for businesses to recruit security professionals. Through the expansion in remote working, companies can look at an expanded geographical pool of candidates for new hires in all business departments. Consequently, security must evolve to a more democratized approach, delivered at the edge and on the various endpoints.

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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