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The year 2021 followed 2020 in most technology trends. With the pandemic, many businesses who were ill prepared for remote work in 2019 gravitated towards the cloud and 2021 was a continuation of that trend.

What else does 2022 hold in store? Although the future is hard to predict, several trends are emerging in the compute and security landscape. At Falcon IT Services we put a lot of effort into researching trends so that we can better prepare our clients for what lies ahead. Here are some of the likely trends for 2022 (in our humble opinion).

Ransomware Prediction for 2022

According to some publications, ransomware has yet to reach its peak. I personally believed the contrary. After seeing Russian police take down the Revil hacking group at the beginning of the year I believed this was a turning point and a signal by Russia to hackers that the big game hunting of high value US targets was over.

How the Russian-US relations deteriorated after the invasion of Ukraine made me rethink security going forward. With US, Chinese, Russian, Iranian, and North Korean relations sinking into cold-war era animosity, I now believe that we can expect cyber incidents to increase in the foreseeable future.

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According to CISA, Russia will use cyber warfare to punish the west over the imposition of sanctions.

Chinese, North Korean and Iranian hackers will continue their hacking efforts as a means of espionage and intellectual property theft.

Network, Server and Endpoint Security in 2022

With many AV products now extremely mature and adept at preventing ransomware, IT managers tightening email security and employee awareness training a requirement, hackers will begin using non-malicious tools built into operating systems, programs and devices in order to exfiltrate data and continue ransom attacks, albeit from a different angle.

Hackers may opt for using operating system shell commands after initial infiltration rather than installing remote control programs which can be flagged by security products. This may become more prevalent since security products will not block built-in operating system tools.

With the economy in high gear and many companies out of the pandemic’s economic crises, CEOs will likely start spending on IT security, purchasing AI security technology, cyber insurance and hiring cyber security staff. Unfortunately, you can’t spend your way out of cyber risk. You still need to follow the fundamental principles of IT security which begin with good cyber-hygiene. This means prioritizing security over convenience, enforcing good cyber security policies and most importantly, requiring employees to take cyber security training. Office personnel are the front lines of defense, often referred to as the human firewall, yet many are not sufficiently prepared to understand and fend off the well-crafted phishing emails and social engineering attacks of clever hackers.

Hackers will Seek out new Targets in 2022

Mac computers will start to become targets this year. As hackers find it more difficult to penetrate traditional defenses, they will seek varied targets. A combination of Mac market shares increasing and the fact that Apple PCs are used by many top-level executives, that makes them a tempting target.

Cloud operators will also start to come under scrutiny as bad actors look for new attack venues. Cloud computing will continue to grow and so will the value cloud cyber jackpots. With so many organizations and data concentrated in cloud-based infrastructure, hackers will no doubt turn more of their attention towards the cloud.

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Automation will Continue to Make Gains and Create Efficiencies

Hyper automation is the process of automating business processes and services and it has been gaining traction over many years. It will be no different in 2022 and beyond, as automation continues to be front and center for many businesses that wish to become more efficient.

Many companies have hybrid automation models: airlines for example offer self-check in yet still allow you to use a counter agent. Other companies have few people with whom you can interact and are more automation focused. Overall, you can expect automation hybrid models to eventually be phased out as Boomers and Gen-Xers exit the work force and are replaced by Gen-Zs who are more comfortable conducting transactions on-line, on a kiosk or from a smartphone. Automation will disrupt many businesses while making others hyper-efficient.

Regulators will Scrutinize Privacy and Anti-Competitive Behavior

2022 will be the year that privacy and anti-competitive regulation begins to build critical mass. As more people become educated about on-line privacy and what they feel are unfair practices by large tech firms, politicians will no doubt start to hear the discourse.

Although I believe we are still 2-3 years away from any significant action, regulators on both sides of the pond have been looking at big tech firms. The Epic Games vs. Apple lawsuit brought technology companies into the public eye as well as into the regulators’ scope.

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