Our 2021 Tech Predictions vs. Reality—How Did We Do?


December 7, 2021

We Had a Lot of Bold Ideas about Technology in 2021. And It Turns out, They All Came True.

By Mike Fowler, CEO, Integris


After the exceptionally challenging year most people had in 2020, you could be excused if you approached 2021 with a certain amount of fear and trembling.

But with our vantage point here at the center of the tech industry, we at Iconic had a very different view. In the midst of pandemic lockdowns and exploding cybersecurity risks, we saw an unprecedented opportunity to make work more mobile, adaptive, and secure than ever. The tech business has never been more promising—or productive. So yeah, we had some bold predictions about 2021. But in most cases, the year exceeded even our rosiest forecasts.

For this month’s column, I thought it might be fun to review what we predicted would be the big drivers for the tech industry in 2021. Let’s take a look at how reality stacked up:

Cloud Will Be the Biggest Thing in Desktop Applications

2021 has turned out to be a banner year for cloud computing on your desktop. Going into the year, Microsoft already had a strong showing with Microsoft 365, which allowed workers to have all their typical Microsoft Office programs like SharePoint, Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Word and the like streaming live from the cloud. But with the introduction of Microsoft Windows 365 Cloud PC, they moved the operating system to the cloud too. This leap in technology makes it possible to be device agnostic and sign in from any device while having the same experience you would on your office-issued laptop.

At Integris, we were among just a handful of MSPs who were allowed to beta test and make revisions to the product. And if initial interest has been any indication, Cloud PC is truly the future for desktop cloud computing. Microsoft’s Free Test drives of the product were so popular they couldn’t keep up with demand.

Is it any wonder then, that cloud computing for desktops is growing by leaps and bounds in 2021? Revenues from this type of “desktop as a service” have risen from $1.220 billion to $2.046 billion so far this year. And it’s projected to rise to $2.66 billion in 2022, according to the latest forecasts from Gartner.

Employees Will Expect the Option to Work from Home

When 2021 began, most of the world was still in lockdown, with as much as 70 percent of the workforce working from home. Now, more and more workplaces are bringing their people back to the office. We’ve done much of the same here at Integris. But that doesn’t mean that remote work will be going away anytime soon. Google Workplace Analytics estimates that companies can save as much as $11,000 a year per employee having them working from home. And productivity appears to be higher, too.

Even as pandemic restrictions ease, many companies are making their work from home accommodations permanent. Facebook, for example, announced this year they’d be making 50 percent of their total workforce permanently remote. So, while the total number of workers working remotely is down, the trend is here to stay. In fact, Google estimates that 25 to 30 percent of the overall global workforce will be remote through the end of this year, and through 2025, the number will hover around 22 percent.

More Cybersecurity Monitoring Tools Will Move to the Cloud

Some of the best cybersecurity tools out there are cloud-based. Why? Because they run in the cloud and are less susceptible to hacking. The breadth and depth of these tools are amazing. Cloud-based services can search your emails for phishing attempts, monitor unusual activity, and even catch the breadcrumbs that hackers leave behind in your system. And of course, cloud-based monitoring for your physical plant continues to grow in sophistication. So, nobody should be surprised that Gartner’s recent numbers on the worldwide Security as a Service market was at $14.3 billion in 2020, will be $16 billion in 2021, and is slated to grow to $18 billion in 2022.

Companies Will Invest More in Cybersecurity, and Cybersecurity Training in Particular

Cyberattacks have ballooned in 2021. And companies are spending more and more on their products and training to keep up. Why? Because employees are the weakest link in your security chain. The majority of cybersecurity attacks still originate on employees having weak passwords stolen or clicking on a link that downloads malware their employer’s systems.

Even so, the rise in spending for cybersecurity in 2021 has been truly historic. According to a recent report in Venture Beat, investment in cybersecurity training for employees increased by 53 percent overall.

Zero Trust Will Become the Dominant Tech for Authentications

Zero Trust networks are networks that require two or multi-factor authentications to log in. And then the system constantly checks for a user’s credential key throughout their experience on network. It is largely considered to be the gold standard for ensuring the safety of your systems, and more companies are installing zero-trust products as a matter of course. The market for zero-trust programs grew considerably in 2021, and Gartner estimates that it will continue to grow by 15 percent by 2028, to a market cap of $59.3 billion. Expect to see more talk about zero trust in the future. It’s truly one of those technologies that every company should have.

By All Accounts, 2021 Has Been an Amazing Year. 2022 Will Be Too.

2021 has been a challenging yet empowering and exciting year. And I’m proud to say that the company I run sells the tools that makes that business empowerment possible. 2022 promises to be no less exciting. Stay tuned. In next month’s newsletter, I’ll be giving you my predictions for the tech you can see coming to your door in the new year. In the meantime, have a wonderful holiday with family and friends!

Mike Fowler was Chief Operating Officer at Integris until 2023. In this role, he brought over twenty years of experience in the IT and MSP industry, including the operations of a national brand.

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