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Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

In part 2 of our series of predictions for technology and IT trends in 2021, we look at how remote working will continue to be popular post the pandemic, why UX is prominent now, and how cybersecurity can learn a thing or two from blockchain. 

Remote working and distributed teams will be the norm beyond Covid-19

Several professionals worked remotely and did so even before the pandemic. Considering its ease of setup and the apparent cost advantages it presents, many will think about asking employees to be physically present in an office space. Microsoft recently instituted a new working policy that allows its employees to choose their working hours and the place from where they would work. 

For technology teams, remote and distributed teams are very efficient since they result in almost 24×7 development cycles. In an environment where reaching the market faster is paramount, this could mean the difference between success and failure. Coupled with sound agile practices, remote teams can work harmoniously and be highly productive. 

75% of technology leaders are comfortable working with remote and offshore teams (based on our survey of more than 170 technology leaders conducted in December 2020). Synerzip’s client roster is a testament to how distributed remote teams can help accrue significant cost savings without sacrificing quality or cutting edge tech expertise. 

The age of UX is now

The rapid digital adoption as the dominant channel for influencing sales and awareness has led several businesses (even those such as hospitality that traditionally relied on in-person experience) to think seriously about user experience.

It is no longer a “build, and they will use” model but one based on collecting data from the users and building an experience to maximize the product or services’ usability and effectiveness.

Today, most interfaces that are commonly by a large number of users are touch-oriented. However, pandemic forced users to find ways to build touchless interfaces. Many of these exist today in the form of voice assistants on our phones and other popular devices such as Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, and Apple’s Siri. Many of these started as being built for the phone. They are now expanding to other traditional devices such as the desktop.

As 2021 progresses, we will hopefully see more standardization efforts on how interfaces are built, used, maintained, and upgraded. While user experiences are relatively subjective, there is still enough data to generalize and codify best practices as standards. This standardization will also allow better interoperability between platforms. 

When asked what their talent needs would be like in 2021, 65% of respondents have said they would invest in talent with relevant skills in front end technologies such as React and Angular and UX across specific domains.

Blockchain lends a helping hand as cybersecurity jumps the priority ladder

As digital channels’ adoption becomes more widespread across almost all industries, the concern for cybersecurity and user and data privacy becomes more pronounced. More CxOs, indicate that cybersecurity is a key concern (33% of respondents) and is a significant challenge in 2021. 

The rapid proliferation of new technologies and connectivity has given birth to novel business models. On the flip side, these models have also exposed novel ways for criminals to usurp security systems. The technology used to deploy these business models and the tech used by cybercriminals are increasingly complex. The highly profitable nature of stealing data using sophisticated ransomware attacks is disrupting business operations worldwide. 

Blockchain in the cybersecurity context can effectively serve as the platform to secure data integrity and prevent fraudulent activities through distributed consensus mechanisms. Its underlying characteristics of immutability, lack of a single point of failure, transparency, and auditability make it well-suited to secure critical data such as patient records, financial data, trade secrets, etc.

With the rise of AI-driven systems, many fail to realize that cybercriminals can attack these AI models to alter their inferences. These attacks could lead to erroneous conclusions and, worse yet, alter automated workflows that accept these inferences as input to cause irreparable damage. Attacks on these systems differ from traditional attacks since attackers exploit vulnerabilities within the AI algorithm that are challenging to find and fix. 

Hence IT leaders must now think about securing their algorithms and find foolproof ways to authenticate their results.

If you’ve missed it, read part 1 here.

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