Top tech trends for 2021: Gartner predicts hyperautomation, AI and more will dominate business technology

Originally published by Teena Maddox on TechRepublic | October 19, 2020, 9:30 AM PST

Operational resiliency is key as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to change how companies will do business next year.

There are nine top strategic technology trends that businesses should plan for in 2021 as the pandemic continues, according to Gartner’s analysts. Their findings were presented on Monday at the virtual Gartner IT Symposium/ Xpo Americas conference, which runs through Thursday.

Organizational plasticity is key to these trends. “When we talk about the strategic technology trends, we actually have them grouped into three different themes, which is people centricity, location independence, and resilient delivery,” said Brian Burke, research vice president at Gartner. “What we’re talking about with the trends is how do you leverage technology to gain the organizational plasticity that you need to form and reform into whatever’s going to be required as we emerge from this pandemic?”

SEE: Gartner’s top tech predictions for 2021 (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Here are the top nine trends, in no particular order. And they will have an impact for more than the next year. Companies can look at these for insight through 2025, per Gartner.

“We don’t prioritize these. So we don’t say that one is more important than the other,” Burke explained. “Different organizations in different industries will prioritize the impact of the trends on them as being higher or lower, but when we look really across industries and across geographies and across these trends, we think that these are the most impactful trends that organizations generally are going to face over the next five years.”

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The Internet of Behaviors (IoB) is an emerging trend. The term “Internet of Behaviors” was first coined in Gartner’s tech predictions for 2020. This is how organizations, whether government or private sector, are leveraging technology to monitor behavioral events and manage the data to upgrade or downgrade the experience to influence those behaviors. This is what Gartner calls the “digital dust” of peoples’ daily lives. It includes facial recognition, location tracking, and big data. 

Burke said, “In practical terms, it’s real things like health insurance companies that are monitoring your fitness bands and your food intake, and the number of times you go to the gym, and those things to adjust your premiums.”

Gartner predicts that by the end of 2025, more than half of the world’s population will be subject to at least one IoB program. Burke said: “That might be a little bit of an understatement because when you think about the social credit system in China, you’re already up to double digit percentages of people that are being monitored just with one implementation. There’s all kinds of these things that are popping up here and there and everywhere.”

The cybersecurity mesh technology trend enables people to access any digital asset security, no matter where the asset is, or where the person is located. Burke said: “The cybersecurity mesh is really how we’ve really reached a tipping point or inflection point with security, and that’s causing us to really decouple policy enforcement from policy decision-making. Those were coupled in the past. What that allows us to do is it allows us to put the security perimeter around the individual as opposed to around the organization.”

He added “The way that security professionals have traditionally thought about security is that inside of the organization is secure. Then we make sure that everything outside of your organization is secured through that security mechanism inside the organization, inside the firewall, so to speak.”

With more digital assets outside of the firewall, particularly with cloud and more remote employees, the security perimeter needs to be around an individual and enforcement is handled through a cloud access security broker, so that policy enforcement is done at the asset itself, Burke explained.

Gartner predicts that by 2025, the cybersecurity mesh will support more than half of digital access control requests.

Originally published by Teena Maddox on TechRepublic | October 19, 2020, 9:30 AM PST

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