Top 5 trends that will shape data management

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Data protection is the act of securing data from being compromised or corrupted by internal or external threats. As the amount of data being created and stored is constantly increasing, data protection is becoming an absolute necessity. The benefits of data protection are safeguarding valuable data leaks, loss, and theft.  2020 was a year everything changed, including the way in which we manage and protect our data.  The extensive changeover to remote working has triggered a massive increase in the use of Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace, among other applications and SaaS.  This polar shift in collaborating and storing sensitive data has made the risks of a widespread increase in data loss. As businesses are getting ready for an uncertain future, IT departments are encountering overwhelming internal and external threats. This has led to a greater awareness of the need for third-party data protection technology across industries. The traditional on-prem approach for data protection has been in question for a while, especially when employees not being in the office and the data being in the cloud. Some businesses have been quick to adapt already. For others, 2021 is expected to guide them as it is marked as a transformational year for data management and protection. Pandemic has forced organizations to bring forward cloud-native application plans. Many enterprises have decided to stick with remote working for the foreseeable future as a return to normality seems unlikely

Remote work has resulted in greater cloud usage. Many businesses will be changing more of their infrastructure setup to the cloud and will have to deal with the security challenges that rises from a hybrid infrastructure. For companies that depend on the perimeter and on-premises security software and appliances, it will be a headache to keep their systems and data safe.  More than 50% of remote workers use their personal devices to work and almost all of them believe that their devices are secure, which is not true. Keeping data protected is a difficult task. 

We are going to look at the top 5 trends to watch out for in 2021 with respect to data protection and privacy 


Ransomware or an encryption Trojan gets onto your computer, it encrypts your data or locks your operating system. As soon as ransomware gets hold of a “digital hostage”, such as a file, it demands a ransom for its release.

Making use of anti-ransomware is a solution so that you can avoid paying horrendous sums to get your data released. Ransomware infections can occur in various ways, such as through insecure and fraudulent websites, software downloads, and by spam mail. 

How to prevent a Ransomware infection 

  • Never click on unsafe links 
  • Avoid disclosing personal information 
  • Do not open suspicious email attachments 
  • Never use unknown USB sticks 
  • Keep your programs and operating system up to date 
  • Use only known download sources 
  • Use VPN services on public Wi-Fi networks 

That means investing in people and technology to help stop attacks; and focusing on the basics – multi-factor authentication (MFA), regular application of security updates and especially comprehensive backup policies.

Reassessment of security strategies 

As the remote work continues, employees are looking for collaboration tools to make their work easy and productive, However, these tools could be a weak point.  Protecting endpoints can be a real pain, especially when threats occur in devices which organization can’t control. Nation/state-sponsored attacks are becoming more and more common and putting up with organized cybercriminals, who are getting ever more powerful, is an alarming issue. Security infrastructure adopted on the assumption that remote working is only temporary must be revisited. 

When the employees are working outside of any security perimeter that existed within the office, an organization has very few options like: 

  • security built into the endpoint 
  • security awareness installed in users 
  • forced connectivity back to the infrastructure via a VPN 

Usage of unapproved cloud services for work adds to the vulnerability, while remote users arise a further risk to network security. If a ransomware attack cannot be prevented, recovering from it is absolutely tough.  IT systems won’t be having a previous working state to revert to if an up-to-date isolated data backup is not created. Therefore Offsite, the air-gapped backup will be a high priority this year. Cloud-based solutions that guarantees protection from ransomware threats will be in high demand, while the tiring task of dealing with manual, time-consuming backups will be consigned to the past. Regardless of data storage location, organizations will ask for instant data recovery. Even if mixed data types are spread across fragmented silos. A specialist cloud data management service essentially means robust services that offer vital security from backups being deleted accidentally or intentionally by external threats or rogue employees. Modern solutions instantly restore individual files or whole systems, using user-managed recovery methods. Users and customers can access and work on priority data while the rest get recovered in the background. 

CISOs will face increased responsibility and demands 

The chief information security officer (CISO) is the person managing an organization’s information and data security. While in the past the role has been rather narrowly defined along those lines, these days the title is often used interchangeably with CSO and VP of security, indicating a more expansive role in the organization. The pandemic has undeniably raised concerns for security. A huge number of ransomware attacks have come across boards of directors, and they are looking to CISOs to mitigate risks. However, experts say businesses need to take security more seriously than ever before. 

The day-to-day responsibilities of a CISO include

  • Security operations: Real-time analysis of immediate threats, and triage when something goes wrong 
  • Cyber risk and cyber intelligence: Keeping up with new security threats, and helping the board understand potential security risks that might arise from acquisitions or other big business decisions.
  • Data loss and fraud prevention: Make sure the employees don’t misuse or steal data 
  • Security architecture: Managing security hardware and software, and making sure IT and network infrastructure are designed with high level security practices.
  • Identity and access management: Security of restricted data and systems.
  • Program management: Keeping ahead of security needs by implementing    programs or projects that mitigate risks—regular system patches, for instance 
  • Investigations and forensics: Determining what went wrong in a breach, dealing with responsible employees, and planning to avoid any further occurrence. 
  • Governance: Making sure all of the above initiatives run smoothly and get the funding they need—and that corporate leadership understands their importance 

According to a forecast by Forrester, inside incidents, accidental or malicious, will be a third of all data breaches in 2021. That’s a 25% increase from the previous year. This is the result of combination remote working, fear of job loss, and the ease with which data can be moved. Organizations should keep in mind that retaining control plays a crucial role simultaneously making threat defense and employee engagement as big priorities. CISO should make the funding process easier because of the financial impact incurred by the threats. Especially since Gartner is forecasting as many as 75% of CEOs will be personally liable for cyber-physical security incidents by 2024. 

Data deluge into a data-centric advantage 

  • The value of data continues to increase exponentially with many organizations remaining rich in data, but poor with information. 
  • Data silos resist organizations from making use of their data to the fullest. Sales teams have their databases, finance teams have enterprise applications, product usage many a times involves a third party, while agencies have web/log data and suppliers may have their own methodology as well. 
  • Nearly 89% of IT leaders report these data silos are posing business challenges for their organizations’ digital transformation initiatives, up from 83% the previous year. 
  • Data is everywhere, but tracking it down, and establishing who is accessing it is problematic. It varies in type, location and rate of change, while collaboration is complicated. 
  • As the organizations are overwhelmed by the data, they must be able to manage and secure the data across their verticals. But that’s not as direct as it sounds.
  • The successful CISOs have always seen the security concerns in a business context.
  • They should go beyond just discussing threats and mitigations and actually explain how the right kind of protection makes the business thrive instead of holding them back. 

Understanding and classifying data across an entire ecosystem can be a huge challenge. 

Legacy backup technologies result in data silos, while offsite data storage can lead to access delay. Restrictions on visibility might cost an organization opportunity that could have been made use of otherwise and this has monetary implications. Other than managing the challenge of storage costs, CISOs now have technology access that gives businesses complete overview of all their processes. Ability to visualize data in one location can help governance less complex across verticals with centralized controls. The operational burden can also be reduced by the right automated protection as data management becomes smarter, quicker and easier. 

Importance of Kubernetes-native software 

A Kubernetes native application is an application that has been specifically designed to run on Kubernetes platforms, generating software designed to maximize the functionalities of Kubernetes API and components and facilitate infrastructure management. A Kubernetes Native application is fully managed by Kubernetes APIs and kubectl tooling and deployed together on Kubernetes as a single object. For, Kubernetes is a container orchestration tool, not a security tool, once the decision to build a Kubernetes Native application is taken, security integration should be done from the beginning and applied all along the development lifecycle through to runtime and at every level, container, cluster, and cloud or multi cloud. 

This essentially means, other than scanning all images for vulnerabilities at all stages, Kubernetes security also needs to be carefully configured. The default settings are designed to cover a wide array of use cases instead of security maximization for specific purposes. Due to this the management of intra and inter clusters communication needs regular monitoring and recalibration. 

Portshift’s single pane of glass is the only Kubernetes native security solution that covers all these at all levels and, as a lightweight, agentless solution, can be rolled out quickly. 

It provides: 

  • 360° visibility – from discovery to regular monitoring, offers visibility and hold of the entire Kubernetes native application, including intra and inter-cluster communication 
  • Vulnerability Management – regularly and comprehensively scans every content of the Kubernetes Native application, with an overall review and individual risk score evaluation of vulnerability exploits, including at runtime. 
  • Configuration management – prevents the deployment of misconfigured containers and finds misconfigured or overly permissive roles by defining customizable risk settings. Detects and solves misconfiguration, including those originating from connected third parties. 
  • Network Encryption – encrypts communication between services both within a cluster and between clusters, the latter one with an automatic identity federation developed by Portshift. 
  • Network segmentation – applies zero-trust security model by applying workload isolation and leveraging Istio service mesh to secure network communication with outside resources. 
  • Threat Detection and Prevention – Identifies any irregularity in workloads and prevents them from running when the potentially malicious intent is detected.
  • Service Mesh Security – Integrates with Istio service mesh with its proprietary identity federation mechanism to identify and diffuse improperly secured communication channels 

Organizations can plan and run containers on clusters of physical or virtual machines while automating operational tasks. 

By deploying applications in a more optimized way, Kubernetes saves time and resources as it takes fewer people to manage IT. Infrastructure costs can be cut down for an organization operating at a massive scale.  Apps are also more flexible and performant as they can be switched easily among different clouds and internal environments.  As the containerized software usage increases, more and more organizations will develop software specifically with Kubernetes in mind.  These containers will need protection if an organization is to recover individual files without any hindrance, or recover from user-made errors or recover configuration information.  There will also be instances when data needs to be pulled out of databases quickly and pushed back into an infrastructure that has just healed itself.  So, 2021 is likely to see a demanding hike for third-party data management platforms that specializes in protecting Kubernetes environments. 


As with other forms of malware, careful action and the use of excellent security software are a step in the right direction. Of particular importance with regard to this type of malware is the creation of backups, as this allows you to be well prepared even in a worst-case scenario. While not all organizations are required to comply with certain data protection standards or data privacy laws, they should still adhere to data protection competencies as it is important for them to build and maintain trust among customers.