Security, Automation and Technology Trends for 2021

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By Steve Cochran, CTO at ConnectWise

While 2020 presented many challenges for people and businesses across the globe, it drove the tech industry to respond to a shift to remote work, increased security risks and reliance on the cloud and new technology. As we move past 2020 and organizations continue to navigate the changes caused by the pandemic, we must also look ahead to what this year may bring.


In 2021, we will continue to see heavy investment in, and expansion of, remote work tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams. While these technologies will continue to evolve, bad actors will constantly try to take advantage of the remote situation. The software industry needs to respond from an application security standpoint. It will be more important than ever to maintain your team’s security training and awareness and factor in security from the beginning, as most security breaches come from within the application.

For most security teams, 2021 will be a time to take stock and apply due diligence to all cloud applications and online services that supported remote working in 2020. This means ensuring security controls meet pre-COVID standards – with visibility, detection and response capabilities across cloud services, applications, and infrastructure – in both current and previous cloud applications and services.

Companies will also have to pivot towards automation and streamlining the various security products that exist, and aligning them whenever possible. Cyberattacks doubled last year, and with many workforces transitioning to remote work in 2020, it is important that companies look into and invest in making their newly dispersed teams secure. Attack techniques are changing, and with people working from home, there has been an increase of phishing attacks on targets’ family members as they are now sharing networks while working on sensitive business data on a daily basis. The demand to double down on cybersecurity to tackle the new challenges that come with a remote workforce will see many companies turning to MSPs to educate and help implement risk reductions in 2021.

There will be many opportunities for growth for companies willing to take the time to understand their customers. For example, businesses around the world are reinforcing their remote work strategies and need a trusted advisor to strengthen their advanced security solutions and ensure that employees’ devices are protected. There is also a huge opportunity for the channel to educate SMBs about regulation, compliance and best practices.

This year will also see an increase in legislation around privacy. In the US, California was first with CCPA but now 23 states have adopted similar regulations. We may also start seeing legislation regulating MSPs. In fact, Louisiana has already done that, and other states could follow suit. If that happens, we’ll see a lot of forward-thinking MSPs investing in education and attracting talent to close their cybersecurity skills gap.

Finally, we’ll continue to see heavy private equity investment in MSPs, leading to further consolidation in that space. We can also expect to see private equity buying security companies at an unprecedented rate. These consolidations will likely drive market separation for the largest providers and conversely, create an opportunity for smaller providers to enter the space and meet the demands of delivering security services at scale.

There’s no doubt that 2020 has left a lasting mark on the world. Businesses were pushed to innovate and adapt, and those that did, survived and/or found success. While no one is certain about what 2021 will bring, companies will likely find themselves planning out new strategies for success in a mostly remote, transformed world of work.