In the third of our four-part series on trends for 2022, we are looking at device management trends. When we talk about devices we mean any physical asset that a person uses to connect to a network of information sources.
Devices are proliferating, getting cheaper, and becoming more diverse, while our use of devices is expanding in frequency, location, and types of use. Whether we are talking about end-user devices or unattended ones, devices are front and center in the IT discussion and will be for 2022.
With that in mind, the following are our trends for device management and security in 2022:
1. Cyber-Attacks on Devices Will Get Bigger and Quieter
With all the device proliferation, it’s no wonder that devices and the people that use them are now the frontline for security threats. The cloud and the systems and services that reside there are getting increasingly hardened against cyber attacks. Companies are continuing to shrink their private data centers while also getting better at securing them. This leaves devices – whether it’s an end-user device or an unattended one – as the current soft targets for cyber-criminals.
In 2022, we will see more attacks of the sophisticated variety in which devices are compromised quietly until enough devices have been coopted that they can be used together in a coordinated attack. Unattended devices at the edge of the network are particularly vulnerable to this type of attack and are likely to be used in a number edge swarm attacks.
2. Remote Management Wars Will Escalate
Everyone wants to manage user devices – the hardware companies, the OS companies, the device owners, the app vendors, and telecom service providers. They all have legitimate business and technical reasons, usually centered around better device uptime, better service availability and device and data security. There is already a turf war for client software that needs to run on each device or gateway software that aggregates information on lower-end devices. It only makes sense for a very few remote management apps to be running on the device, and in 2022, the battle for that precious real estate will escalate. Corporations will increasingly need to turn to neutral third parties to help them understand how they navigate this battle for their devices. Many companies have opted for either no remote monitoring and management or defaulted to the hardware or security vendor. As the remote worker norm sets in, companies will need to make better-informed decisions about remote device management to make certain their uptime and security goals are maintained while also keeping employee productivity high and support costs minimal.
3. Device-Cloud Will Kill Client-Server. Sort of.
“The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed.” William Gibson said that 18 years ago, but it applies to this world of device-cloud and client-server today. Client-server is the computing architecture that replaced mainframe and is basically a PC connecting to a local network on which there is a server (“a big PC”) that runs an application for many people to use simultaneously. That started in the 1980s and the mainframe business has been declared dead every year since. The mainframe market is still alive and kicking, but it ain’t what it used to be. And while many of us work for companies that still have some application that runs on a server, there is not one startup in the past 10 years that have reached unicorn status with a client-server application architecture.
The replacement for client-server is device-cloud or just “the cloud”. It comes in many flavors but in this context, the device is a laptop, tablet, or smartphone, and the cloud is a SaaS application or “serverless” or “native” cloud application.
There is not one enterprise software startup that will emerge in 2022 that builds their application on anything other than pure device-cloud architecture. In addition, the remote worker norm pushed client-server even closer to the grave because client-server does not perform well with large-scale remote users. The security layers that need to sit in front of client-server solutions to serve remote users create cost and performance issues. So, 2022 will be a watershed year in the corporate move away from client-server architectures, and we will find more than 80% of the screen-time of a typical user is on device-cloud apps.
4. The PC CPU War Will Move to the Front Page
The PC CPU ware has already begun, but only industry insiders have really cared. Anyone who has purchased a MacBook in the past 18 months knows about the M1 CPU and knows why it matters. The latest Macs no longer use Intel CPUs – effectively ending their 15-year run. Instead, they use an ARM chip designed by Apple and built by TSMC. The performance is incredibly fast and for Apple, there is no going back. The way ARM chips are designed and built is fundamentally different than the way traditional CPUs are built. The net of it is that large technology companies like Apple, Lenovo, Microsoft, Google, and others can design their own ARM chips and have them built by lower-cost chip manufacturers than Intel.
The ARM race has been going for a while, but in 2022 it will explode onto the front page. Apple will expand its ARM strategy, but what will make this truly mainstream is that one of the major PC vendors will launch their first ARM-based laptops. When people experience the speed difference and the faster innovation cycles for new chip designs, it will make CPUs a watercooler topic for the first time in 20 years.
5. Secure Remote Erasure of Devices Will Become a Thing
Today devices can be locked and erased remotely. This is mostly executed by companies when a remote worker has left their company and the company wants to secure the device as quickly as possible. Separately, the same devices or other devices will be shipped back to a common location, where they are erased using highly secure erasure techniques recommended by the Department of Defense (DoD 5220.22-M) or the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST Special Publication 800-88).
As more companies increasingly treat remote work as the norm rather than the exception, these workflows will need to merge. In 2022, more and more companies will begin to require remote secure erasure processes. This will allow companies to protect the corporate data that is stored on the remote devices, and either never retrieve the device or allow the device to ship directly to an ITAD service – saving time and money.
What are you thinking about device management and security in 2022? What are your big concerns for the upcoming year? Let us know what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org.