January 19, 2021

PKWARE 2021 Predictions: More Remote Work, Focus on Data-Level Security, and Greater Compliance


When 2020 started, no one could have predicted the extraordinary events that have unfolded over the past 12 months. From the massive, and nearly overnight, shift to remote work to the accelerated adoption of cloud services, it’s been a whirlwind of a year for enterprise IT teams. Now, at the beginning of 2021, many IT and security leaders are discussing how best to move the business forward, especially when it comes to data security.

Here are three predictions that we think will take shape in 2021 and beyond.

Remote Work is the “New Normal”

It’s been almost a year since companies went fully or almost-fully remote at the start of the pandemic in the US. Workforces had to be up and running at home within days after nationwide shutdown orders, causing a massive shift of priorities, one of which is the accelerated adoption of cloud services in the enterprise. And even through the hectic scramble of deploying laptops and getting employees access to applications and services from home, businesses largely pulled it off. Now that they can still maintain a high productivity level remotely, things might stay that way–at least partly.

We’re already seeing companies hiring and recruiting outside of their normal geographies and corporate headquarters, as they look to give existing employees more flexibility to move or to source new employees in anticipation that not everyone will be returning to in-office work. Some companies like Zillow and Reddit say they will pay their employees the same wages nationwide, so people aren’t pressured to remain in San Francisco or other expensive cities. And because this largely means more laptop deployments, companies are focusing much more closely on endpoint security as employees access data and applications in the Cloud versus using a VPN to on-site systems.

Security Solutions Will be Focused Down at the Data Level

Although this has been common knowledge for years now, focusing on the data has become a higher priority for organizations, and we expect that to not only continue, but actually accelerate in the wake of the pandemic. This is because although organizations have heavily invested in information security technologies, they don’t feel like they have all the gaps covered. That’s why investing in solutions that focus on the data is so important, as it touches the user and affects the way they work with their files. After all, 80% of an organization’s data exists in files, so anytime a system is deployed that affects how people interact with the files, it can be a significant disruption. That is why, historically, companies have been slow to do so. But now with so many remote workers accessing cloud services, there will be an increase in data security.

Companies Will Adopt Broader Approaches to Regulatory Compliance

Many companies have already made changes to comply with newer regulations like GDPR, CCPA, and more, but we can expect more to come, either in the form of additional states joining California with their own standard, an eventual federal standard, or regulations in other countries as consumers demand more rights when it comes to their data and what happens to it. Therefore, businesses need to be able to figure out which parts of the organization need to comply to which regulations. Long term, organizations might just choose to comply with the strictest one so far, which is GDPR, and apply it organization-wide. By adhering to these rules, they will be the most prepared for any additional ones that are passed, depending on the nature of their business and what industry they are in.

Organizations will be looking to move forward with two things: 1) how they are creating new processes regarding consumer data and 2) going back to their existing processes and making sure they comply with the necessary regulations.

BONUS: Data Subject Access Request Solutions Will be in High Demand

Because consumers are becoming more knowledgeable about their rights to their data, they will take advantage of laws and regulations aimed to protect them. Data breaches and other controversies will likely lead to immediate upticks in data subject access requests (DSAR) from users. Organizations that hold this kind of data will need to be able to access it when consumers ask for it, while making sure it is still secure and only the right people are given that access.

If 2021 is anything like 2020, it’s impossible to predict exactly what will happen in the world, but no matter what, PKWARE is there to manage your organization’s sensitive data and make sure it is protected.

Talk to a data security expert now to get started.

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