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Business Technology Trends for 2021: Our Best Predictions

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Business Technology Trends

Executive Summary

  • IT technology has always moved fast, but 2020 might have set a new land-speed record. But will the huge shifts in the way we do business continue into 2021?
  • In this article, we’ll offer up a choice selection of technology trends which we expect to get big (or bigger) in the coming twelve months.

Introduction

As 2019 drew to a close, nobody could have predicted exactly what 2020 had in store.

It’d be a gross understatement to say things didn’t go to plan for any business in 2020, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

So, as we take our first tentative steps into 2021, there’s no question the cultural shifts we saw last year will come with us on the journey.

But how, exactly? Which aspects of the “new normal” will stay, and which will go?

With these questions in mind, let’s review our best predictions for how IT support and business technology will change in the coming year.

Trend #1: The evolution of working from home

Working from home was a gamechanger for a lot of people during 2020.

For businesses, though, it’s also been a big adjustment – and certainly not a smooth transition for everyone.

Lots of people are assuming (or perhaps hoping) that the work-from-home trend will continue in 2021, but is that just wishful thinking?

The truth is that many companies just don’t know yet. There are examples of huge multinational corporations, like Microsoft, who will be working from until the middle of 2021. But there are others who are already back in the office.

Perhaps the most likely outcome here is that businesses will reach a happy medium, where staff come in two or three times a week depending on workload. This provides flexibility without missing out on the undeniable benefits of good old-fashioned face-to-face meetings.

Trend #2: Digital collaboration will become the new normal

Speaking of working from home, there’s one aspect of this shift which has boosted productivity in all sorts of ways, and that’s the adoption of collaboration platforms.

Microsoft Teams is perhaps the best example, with a reported 115 million daily users as of October 2020.

But if you thought these platforms were the specific reserve of a remote workforce, think again.

Even when a team is in an office together, platforms like Microsoft Teams offer features which are just as viable and useful in person as they are from afar.

For example, Teams can help your business keep projects and conversations organised, offers a simple repository for all of your essential files and documents, allows you to share information and announcements at scale quickly, and much more.

With Microsoft Teams (and other collaboration platforms) being updated on a very regular basis, we fully expect the trend of such platforms to continue — and get even bigger — as we move through 2021.

Trend #3: A renewed focus on cybersecurity

While the COVID-19 crisis has forced businesses to work differently, it’s sadly done the same for criminals.

According to research, some 91% of businesses reported an increase in the prevalence of cyberattacks during the pandemic.

With so many distributed teams, it’s been easier for cyberattackers to isolate individuals who might not have IT support available directly, and thus carry out malware and phishing attacks.

Just as businesses have pivoted their operations to suit the market conditions, the technology powering cyberattacks is undoubtedly being bolstered too. What does this mean for 2021? Well, there’s no question that cyberattacks will become more commonplace as companies start to do more of their work online. 2020 may just have been the tip of the iceberg.

Thankfully, there are people out there who are doing something about it.

Conventional “reactive” antivirus systems may not be enough to cope with this new wave of cyberthreats, especially when there are so many new (“day zero”) attacks taking place. With this in mind, we’re predicting a much bigger uptake of Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) platforms in 2021.

We’ve covered EDR in-depth on the blog, but the headlines are that such platforms can effectively tackle almost any form of malware thanks to advanced AI and machine learning technology.

Trend #4: The advent of the real-time digital workflow, powered by 5G

We’ve talked a lot here about the work-from-home and remote working experiences many of us had in 2020.

But it wasn’t all smooth sailing.

We’re sure you can relate to the dropped audio, the blocky video, or even the total drop-out of internet connections. Sadly, this stuff is all part and parcel of running a business over home broadband connections, many of which cap out at relatively low line speeds.

But, if you’ve been paying attention to those flashy TV ads for smartphones, you might have noticed that 5G is starting to make inroads in the UK. It could take a while to be adopted by the masses, but we’re predicting that 5G will change the face of business once it does.

Why? Because it’s almost unthinkably fast by comparison to what we’re all used to.

Consider the average home broadband connection in the UK, which is usually around 40 Mbps in speed. The average speed of a 5G connection is up to 200Mbps – four times faster. Not only that, but – in ideal conditions – 5G could reach up to 1Gbps in speed. That’s 25 times faster than the connections we’re using today.

From a business perspective, this could mean flawless quality video calls, crystal clear audio connections, and rapid file transfers from anywhere.

5G remains a bit of an outlier, we’ll admit, but we’ll certainly keep an eye on it as 2021 goes on.

Jump-start your 2021 with better IT support

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that you never know what’s around the corner.

It also taught many companies the true value of reliable, affordable IT support – and that’s exactly what you get with Get Support IT Services.

If you’ve not yet got your IT support locked down, (if you’ll pardon the pun), we’d love to show you how we can help. Fill in the form below to get the conversation started or speak to us directly by calling 01865 59 4000.

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