IT in 2023: Security, cloud and more

Cloud data protection

Given the ever-changing trends in cloud computing, security, and more, it can be difficult to plan for the road ahead. However, anticipating new developments, both within your organization and the wider industry, is vital if you want to stay prepared and maximize ROI. 

Data is one of a business’ greatest assets, and its role, size and value is only going to increase in 2023 and beyond. Cybersecurity Ventures suggests total global data storage is expected to exceed 200 zettabytes by 2025, with a ransomware attack precited to impact a business, consumer or device every two seconds by 2031, properly securing your data is paramount.

The role of IT is to provide access to data through applications and ensure they are always available. To do this successfully, security can’t be viewed as a utility; it must be embedded in everything.

This means having proper risk management practices and a disaster recovery (DR) plan in place that accounts for natural disasters like floods, fires, earthquakes, and hurricanes, as well as ransomware and other cyber threats.

How to be a good steward of data

Organizations must be able to demonstrate, in a testable and audible fashion, that you have reasonably identified and managed risks — whether cyber, physical or computing. The object of the exercise is threefold: manage risk, ensure compliance and enable the business.

Understandably, this is a lot easier said than done, with the IT skills gap continuing to plague organizations in a time where cybersecurity skills and services are needed more than ever.

IT teams need to have a set of diverse and deep skillsets that can be applied across the board. Additionally, architecture and governance are important for understanding computing operations and leveraging multiple service providers across networking, security, cloud solutions and more.

This extensive list of necessary skills ranges from asset inventorying to digital forensics and incident response. Any competitive business also needs optimized computing experience for customers, regulation-compliant data and intellectual property protections, as well as architecture and governance of services used in-house or from third-party providers (MSPs/MSSPs). The network and security needs of a modern business are endless.

Ultimately, IT teams must work together and break down silos to ensure a seamless end-to-end user experience that meets all stakeholder requirements -- from data protection to risk management.

Emerging cloud trends

Veeam’s 2023 Data Protection Trends Report discovered that more than half of all organisations’ production workloads are now hosted in the cloud. For those organisations not yet fully cloud-operable, cloud adoption continues at a frenetic rate, with 69 percent of businesses escalating their cloud migration over the past year.

But whilst the pandemic accelerated the shift to cloud-hosted workloads, many organizations are finding that their original "cloud-first" strategies may need adjusting. Unpredictable pricing and the need to manage an increasingly broad attack surface has seen organizations turn to hybrid solutions to ensure the continuity of data protection, security and assurance.

Regardless of where a business is on its cloud journey, it must take a holistic approach to ensure data is protected wherever it is located.

Lessons learned as you prepare for the year ahead

The biggest lesson learned is simple: you don’t have to do this alone. Experience equals better business and mission outcomes and businesses should seek out specialists who can handle many of the most critical IT requirements.

Some other pieces of advice include:

Think "cloud-smart" not "cloud-first." Look for ways to make better use of existing resources and identify specific clouds or services that are most beneficial for your needs. Ensure that zero-trust architectures underpin your cloud strategy to improve security, restricting access based on user identity rather than location.

Keep up with security best practices. Firewalls and antivirus software are not enough -- a comprehensive security plan combines multiple layers of protection. Zero-trust solutions like multi-factor authentication (MFA) are becoming increasingly commonplace, as well as real-time monitoring and automated incident response capabilities to protect data from malicious actors.

Don’t skimp on DR and data backup. While the goal is always to prevent data breaches, never underestimate the importance of having redundancies in place should something go wrong. This means having a robust system for backing up critical information as well as plans for restoring operations quickly following any disruption. These DR plans must be regularly tested to remain effective. Automate processes when feasible and update strategies as your production environment changes.

Technology is constantly evolving, and IT departments must work tirelessly to keep up with the changes. Staying informed about industry trends will help you stay ahead of the curve and ensure your infrastructure can meet its current, and future, needs.

Image credit: NataliMis/

Sam Woodcock is Senior Director of Cloud Strategy and Enablement at 11:11 Systems

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