Increased regulation, growing threats and prioritising people: What does 2022 have in store?

The past two years have been a whirlwind of events that we never could have predicted. Being forced to work remotely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has changed working habits forever. As we come out the other side of the pandemic, hopefully, 2022 will be easier to predict.


We came into this year not knowing what to expect after a truly unpredictable 2020. As we adapted to the new normal that the pandemic has created, 2021 changed the way we work - working full time in an office is a thing of the past for many. This brings new challenges of securing systems for remote workers and investing in new technologies to allow for the maintenance of operations and collaboration between colleagues working apart.

We can only hope that 2022 will be less tumultuous than the two years it follows, but what can the tech industry expect as we enter the new year? IDG Connect spoke to nine tech industry leaders to find out what is in store in 2022.

Beware of ransomware

As global ransomware attacks skyrocketed by 151% in 2021, it would be naive to disregard ransomware as a threat as we enter 2022. Mark Jow, EMEA Vice President - Sales Engineering at Commvault, notes that it is clear that “attacks are becoming increasingly calculated and focused and, as the sophistication of cybercriminals continues to grow, we can expect to see much more evidence of this in 2022. Ultimately, no sector is immune to cyberattacks - cybercriminals will target any organisation that they think is likely to pay a ransom.

“Every organisation regardless of its sector, should be looking into new technologies to simplify and strengthen its data protection services. Over the next 12-24 months, we can expect to see enhancements around Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) which can be a huge asset for such tasks.”

Disaster-recovery-as-a-service (DRaaS) will become a key necessity for many organisations in the year ahead. “The rise in volume and severity of ransomware attacks and growing threats due to climate change, combined with the financial impact of downtime are driving organisations to take disaster recovery seriously,” explains Ziv Kedem, CEO, Zerto, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company.

“Apart from capital investments, many organisations do not have the time and administrative overhead required to stand up a secondary data centre. DRaaS brings the fastest approach to protect critical workloads."

Get ready for regulations

Of all the negative uncertainties that have surrounded us all over the past two years, one positive trend we have experienced is the growth of technologies to analyse and transform huge datasets. With the value data intelligence brings to data-driven decisions and insights, we can expect the trend to continue as we enter 2022. However, with the widespread uptake of the practice we will likely see increased regulations around data and its use.

“As we look ahead to 2022, Data Governance will become the focal point of many conversations,” explains Simon Spring, Operations Director, EMEA at Wherescape. “Increasingly, we are seeing a disconnect between those in an organisation who are responsible for ensuring data compliance guidelines are met, and those that want to more freely use that data to drive business decisions. For this reason, transforming data governance programmes will be important in 2022.

Geoff Barlow, Technology Practise Lead - Strategy at Node4 agrees that, “as people become more conscious of who stores their data and what it is being used for, we can expect to see data privacy and control continuing to grow in importance in 2022. Data privacy regulation such as GDPR and CPPA were the start, and in 2022 we will start to see the shift away from the use of third-party browser cookies and a continued drive to regulate Big Tech companies in the US and China. We will likely see technology advancements that allow individuals more control over their data and possibly even the ability to trade their data similar to that of a digital currency.”

Prioritise your people

With the widespread rush to the cloud over the past two years, employees may have missed out on crucial training in these solutions. The urgency to establish the solutions and avoid downtime forced staff to get to grips with the software as quickly as possible.

“This has laid the foundation for many of the key training and development areas businesses will need to focus on in 2022,” explains Don Mowbray, EMEA Lead, Technology & Development at Skillsoft. “Companies that accelerated their move to cloud to adapt their environments and assets to support home working are now investing heavily in consolidation. Businesses will need to go beyond certifications for any single cloud platform and instead focus on training and development that will enable their employees to work effectively in multi-cloud environments.

“Any business investing in new cloud services and platforms in 2022 should first invest in training – giving learners the ability to develop and practice their skills in a safe, non-production environment first,” he adds.

People can provide one of the biggest barriers to business operations in 2022, but as well as investing in training, technology can also help overcome such gaps. Ruby Raley, VP Sales, Healthcare and Life Sciences at Axway notes that "with inflation, staff issues (great resignation and burn out), etc., CIOs will need to find operational efficiencies to fund new projects. One of these steps will be tech consolidation to reduce maintenance spend."

Keeping up with customer expectations

Customer experience and expectations have also changed hugely over the past year. Gone is the acceptance of COVID as an excuse for poor customer service and, with the acceleration of digital experience, customer expectations reached new heights.

“Customer Engagement for large organisations is becoming increasingly about digital self-service with an expectation that interactions and transactions will take place across any means of communication, at any given moment. This poses a challenge to any organisations that serve consumers: they need to adapt and evolve their means of engagement with customers very quickly,” explains Martin Taylor, Deputy CEO at Content Guru.

“Customer experience is becoming the primary differentiator for customer engagement. 2022 will see an arms race in how personalised customer experience can become whilst balancing the responsibilities of data security.”

“Self-service, getting things done in your own timescales and immediate results are fast becoming an integral part of overall customer experience,” adds Terry Storrar, Managing Director, Leaseweb UK. “The pandemic has spurred the pace of this change for customers and businesses alike and this will gather momentum in 2022. As such, Gartner predicts that by 2025, 60% of organisations will be using infrastructure automation tools.  For any IT administrators looking to streamline their services to keep up with the current trends, I would urge them to consider the benefits of automating their services and doing what they can to provide more environmentally friendly solutions.”

“In the next year, we should expect to see deeper results from measurement of value,” concludes Jeff Keyes, VP of Product Marketing & Strategy at Plutora.  “At the end of the day, there shouldn’t be a differentiation between IT and the business because IT creates value, and it continues to level up the conversation. When I first did value stream mapping, the biggest benefit I saw was that by looking at the efficiency of the system that supports the business, it brought everyone together and focused on the same goal. We can push that even further as we better understand what we are measuring and what it means for the organisation.”